US needs to make more of its own drugs, Civica Rx CEO says

The U.S. needs to strengthen its domestic drug-manufacturing capabilities and reduce its reliance on foreign suppliers, Martin VanTrieste, president and CEO of nonprofit generic drugmaker Civica Rx, wrote in an op-ed for STAT

The foreign drug supply chain has historically left the U.S. facing drug shortages and provided patients with medications that did not meet FDA standards, he said. He also warned against the dangers of relying on forgeign countries that could impose export limits at any time.

Mr. VanTrieste urged lawmakers to ensure the U.S. can manufacture consumer-ready essential drugs as well as their active ingredients on a much larger scale than it's doing now. He recommended the government work with hospitals to prioritize these medications and plan for supply interruptions through deals with multiple suppliers and by maintaining a stockpile.

"To make it economical for other companies to make long-term investments in U.S. drug manufacturing and the jobs that would come with them, policymakers should consider additional measures, all of which have attracted bipartisan support," Mr. VanTrieste wrote. "These include using the government’s purchasing power, including through long-term contracts, to create a stable demand for American-made medicines, their active ingredients and some of the key chemicals used in their manufacture."

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