Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) on Wednesday revealed legislation intended to reduce U.S. reliance on China for the manufacture of certain prescription drugs and other medical supplies.
“The coronavirus outbreak in China has highlighted severe and longstanding weaknesses in our medical supply chain,” Hawley said in a statement provided to National Review. “Our health officials need to know the extent of our reliance on Chinese production so they can take all necessary action to protect Americans.”
The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has threatened production of about 150 prescription drugs, including some brand drugs without an alternative on the market, Axios reported on Sunday. China also produces components the U.S. relies on for its own manufacture of prescription drugs, leading to fears that a shortage of these components could have an impact on the supply of prescription drugs in the U.S.
Hawley’s bill would “give new authority to the FDA to request information from manufacturers of essential drugs or devices regarding all aspects of their manufacturing capacity…and any other details the FDA deems relevant to assess the security of the U.S. medical product supply chain,” the press release states.
The outbreak of the coronavirus has threatened China-based supply chains for numerous other businesses as well, already decreasing production of Apple’s iPhone and causing Tesla to shut down its Shanghai factory.
As of Thursday, cases of the coronavirus have been reported in 47 countries around the world, with the World Health Organization saying more new cases have been reported outside of China than inside.