As health care workers resort to unconventional methods of acquiring needed medical supplies and equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, vulnerabilities in the American health care system have never been more clear. One other vulnerability is the fact that much of the production of pharmaceuticals and medical devices takes place outside the United States. Much of the supply chain for penicillin, antibiotics and pain medicines, as well for many medical devices, is in China.
Rosemary Gibson is senior advisor with the Hastings Center, and author of “China RX.” She says when the U.S. began free trade with China, it resulted in a “landslide” of companies shifting their manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical devices offshore.
“That’s when I documented the last vitamin C plant closed, the last aspirin plant closed, and our last penicillin plant,” Gibson says.
China successfully attracted drugmakers by lowering the cost to produce products there long enough to drive producers around the world out of business.
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– How China controls the supply chain for chemicals needed to produce most medicines
– What the Trump administration wants to do to protect U.S. access to drugs
– How the U.S. could turn the drug supply situation around
Written by Shelly Brisbin.