The U.S. Can Make It Easier for Pharmaceutical Companies to Invest in America, While Retaining a Robust Global Supply Chain



Andrew Lautz | National Taxpayers Union

As the Chinese government faces scrutiny for its early and ongoing roles in the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, some lawmakers and Trump administration officials have sought to address safety and security concerns with U.S. imports of Chinese pharmaceutical products and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

For example, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) teamed up with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) on a bill that would ensure strict Department of Veterans Affairs “Buy American” rules that were recently rejected by a U.S. court are put back into place. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) have a bill to “[p]rohibit pharmaceutical purchases from China or products with active pharmaceutical ingredients created in China” over the next two years. The requirements would even apply to APIs only available in China after 2024. The Trump administration, for its part, under the influence of White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, wants “to tighten ‘Buy American’ laws so federal agencies are required to purchase American-made pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.”

Unfortunately, all of these ideas risk upending a supply chain that plays a critical role in America’s world-leading biopharmaceutical innovation. This innovation not only ensures that Americans enjoy access to treatments and cures for countless diseases, but also supports thousands of jobs across the country and efficient and effective free trade with allies around the globe.


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