Lawmakers Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Protect America’s Medical Supply Chain
Washington, D.C. – As the coronavirus continues to spread across the United States and around the world, Reps. Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36), Underwood (IL-14), and Roe (TN-01) have introduced a bipartisan bill in the House to analyze the dependence of the United States on critical drugs and medical devices that are sourced or manufactured outside of the United States. Recent halts in shipments from China and other areas of the world have raised concerns about the availability of drugs and medical devices in the United States, especially during disruptive global events like a pandemic.
“Medical supply chains are a public health’s life support during pandemics,” said Dr. Ruiz, an emergency physician who was on the frontlines during the H1N1 pandemic. “We must ensure that seniors and people with underlying diseases are able to get their medicine. My bill, the U.S. Medical Supply Chain Act, will help secure our nation’s medical supply chains.”
“As a physician, it is of the utmost importance to me that we keep Americans safe by ensuring our public health agencies and facilities have the resources they need to combat emerging threats to our health and welfare,” said Congressman Phil Roe. “While the U.S. took significant steps in preparing to address COVID-19, unfortunately, we are learning how reliant we are on China for the production of gowns, masks and components for manufacturing drugs. In order to prevent these concerns in future health emergencies, I am proud to join my friend Dr. Ruiz in introducing the Commission on U.S. Medical Security Act to develop an action plan around increasing domestic manufacturing capabilities of medical equipment and treatments.”
“Today, I joined my colleagues to introduce the bipartisan Commission on U.S. Medical Security Act to ensure Americans have access to the medication, devices, and medical supplies they need at all times—especially during a global health crisis,” said Congresswoman Underwood. “The COVID-19 pandemic shows us in so many ways how globally connected we are; we need to ensure that our connectedness does not undermine our nation’s access to medical supplies we need at times of crisis.”
The Commission on U.S. Medical Security Act was introduced Friday. The bill was also introduced in the Senate by Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Alexander (R-TN).
Approximately 40 percent of finished drugs and 72 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients are manufactured overseas—primarily from China and India.
The Commission on U.S. Medical Security Act would direct the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to examine and report on the security of the United States medical product supply chain. Specifically, the commission would:
- Assess the dependence of and vulnerabilities to the United States, including the private commercial sector, states, and Federal agencies, on critical medications, medical devices, and medical equipment that are sourced from or manufactured in foreign countries.
- Provide recommendations and an action plan to improve the resiliency of the supply chain for critical drugs, devices, and equipment, including to increase domestic manufacturing capabilities, supplies and stockpiles, and improve information collection and contingency planning.
- Consult, in the development of its report, with federal agencies-including Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Defense, Commerce, State, Justice, and Veterans Affairs-as well as public health, medical, and commercial industry stakeholders.