WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Many of the drugs we rely on in our daily lives come from foreign countries, like China.
With the coronavirus outbreak, some members of Congress want to restrict that.
“We need to make sure that our drug supply is safe, is secure and is American-sourced,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said.
Warner wants the United States to stop relying on foreign countries for pharmaceutical products, especially in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The possibility that this is the first of potentially other viruses that we may see sweep our nation and the world. we have to recognize that as a reality,” Warner said.
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Warner requests HHS develop a short-term strategy to ensure access to medical supplies and a long-term plan to reduce reliance on foreign supply chains.
“Shouldn’t we be considering this a national security issue?” Virginia Sen. Time Kaine asked.
Kaine believes continued reliance on other countries, like China, for drugs or other supplies will put the United States at a severe disadvantage if a global outbreak happens again.
“It’s not malicious, it’s just natural that if it’s being produced somewhere else and they have a problem, the first priority on the use of it is going to be in that country, not in the United States,” Kaine said.
Warner says this will require a partnership between the public and private sectors, including the speedy FDA approval of American-made drugs.
“So that we can check for safety and efficacy, but also make sure that we get this drug to market as quickly as we can,” Warner said.
Both senators hope federal health officials will consider this option to bring drug manufacturing home.