If there is one thing we have learned about foreign policy and trade during this pandemic, it is that we cannot afford to outsource most of our pharmaceutical manufacturing to any single country. In the future, it will be vital that we are self-reliant when it comes to providing drugs that millions of American lives depend on, ensuring that, if the worst happens, we will be prepared.
During this pandemic, we were not prepared to be as hard on China as we could have been because of our reliance on their pharmaceutical exports. Decreasing our reliance on a foreign country would be especially important if, for example, we were in a situation where China intentionally released a virus knowing that we depend on them for drugs.
To prevent America from ever facing this risk again, President Trump announced the signing of an executive order on Thursday to boost drug manufacturing domestically.
The White House tweeted the full “Made in the USA” speech in which he discussed the executive order among a range of other topics during a visit to the Whirlpool washing machine factory in Clyde, Ohio.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 6, 2020
The measure requires government agencies to “Buy American” for specific essential pharmaceuticals, medical supplies, and equipment. The Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Health and Human Services are among the agencies ordered to make these purchases.
Also, under the new executive order, the FDA and EPA must give priority to US drug manufacturers during regulatory reviews. Other regulations will be under review by Trump’s administration as well.
Urging the importance of this order, the president said, “We cannot rely on China and other nations across the globe that could one day deny us products.” Trump continued, “As we’ve seen in this pandemic, the US must produce essential equipment supplies and pharmaceuticals for ourselves. We cannot rely on China and other nations across the globe, that could one day deny us products in a time of need.”
“We have to be smart,” the president said.
Trump provided more specifics on how soon we can expect the transition in the pharmaceutical industry to take place. “During the course of the next four years, we will bring our pharmaceutical and medical supply chains home,” he said. “And we’ll end reliance on China just like we did with the washers and dryers … we’ll be making our product here.”
White House Adviser Peter Navarro says he believes the order is vital to our nation’s public health and security. Navarro warned reporters on Thursday, “We’re dangerously over-dependent on foreign nations for our essential medicines.”
Trump’s latest measure to restructure America’s pharmaceutical industry comes within just two weeks of his landmark action on Big Pharma where he signed a bundle of orders to lower drug prices for all Americans.
To be clear, the president is doing unprecedented things that we never thought were possible or that we would ever see happen in America. While we live in the greatest country in the world by far, many Americans were being choked financially by excessive drug costs and inaccessibility for decades. It became an increasingly overbearing burden to obtain medically necessary drugs because of the high cost. Regardless of what Big Pharma wants, Trump is doing everything within his power to lighten that burden on everyday Americans and end the strain on our resources. Unlike other politicians, Trump understands that holding public office means to work for the people and he has certainly proven that as he continues to keep every one of his campaign promises.