US needs to overhaul its medical supply chains, bipartisan lawmakers agree

The U.S. needs to overhaul its medical supply chains and reduce its dependence on foreign countries, bipartisan lawmakers told The Hill during a virtual event. 

Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said the U.S. needs a "soup-to-nuts" view of the specific supply chains that have national security importance. Ms. Slotkin is the lead sponsor of the Made in America Medical Supply Chain Initiative, a package of six bills aimed at decreasing dependence on foreign medical supply chains, The Hill reported. The package includes a $500 million pilot program to incentivize domestic manufacturers to produce critical supplies such as personal protective equipment. 

"My experience in the Pentagon and in the national security world, it kind of blew my mind that while we still really have a preference for making things in America — [like] our military equipment, our body armor, our meals-ready-to-eat, we didn’t have the same buy American requirements on other things, like medical supplies and pharmaceuticals," Ms. Slotkin told The Hill.

Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Ga., told The Hill that the pandemic has caused the U.S. to recognize its dependence on other countries for pharmaceutical needs and that "having realized it means we have to do something about it." 

Mr. Carter introduced the Manufacturing API, Drugs and Excipients in America Act to keep supply chains in the U.S. 

He emphasized that the U.S. cannot be reliant on countries that have historically acted as adversaries. 

"We had threats from China that said, 'Yeah, we’re glad to send you this medication. We’re going to use what we have to use first, and if there’s anything left over, then we’ll send it to you.' That’s not the kind of situation we need to be in. That’s not in the best interest of the healthcare of our citizens, nor is it in the best interest of our national defense," Mr. Carter told The Hill

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