Warner pleads for greater domestic supply chain for medicine


(Photo: Courtesy MGN)

WASHINGTON (WFXR) — The coronavirus outbreak has negatively impacted supply chains worldwide, including medicine production.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) requested the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to come up with a short term plan to ensure essential medicine continues to be available. In the long term, the senator wants the department to come up with a plan to lessen the United States’ dependence on overseas medicine production supply lines.

In a letter to Sec. Alex Azar of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Warner stated:

“For million of Americans, access to their drug supply can mean life or death. Yet increasingly, the United States produces very few of these products domestically. For example, the active ingredients for medicines treating breast and lung cancers and the antibiotic Vancomycin are made almost exclusively in China. China is also the largest supplier of medical devices, such as MRI equipment, surgical gowns and other equipment that measures oxygen levels in the blood.”

U.S. Senator Mark Warner (Va.-D)

According to a statement from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), officials have reached out to over 180 drug manufacturers to request they review their entire supply change and notify the agency of any expected shortages. The agency identified at least 20 drugs “which solely source their active pharmaceutical ingredients or finished drug products from China.”

“We have been in contact with those firms to assess whether they face any drug shortage risks due to the outbreak. None of these firms have reported any shortage to date. Also, these drugs are considered non-critical drugs.

We will will remain in contact with manufacturers so that we can continue to assist them with any potential issues in the fastest way.”

Food and Drug Administration

Manufacturers of medical devices have experienced interruptions to production due to the quarantine of workers. The FDA said at least 63 manufacturers that produce essential medical devices may be impacted by a disruption in the supply chain caused by the coronavirus.

Warner’s letter to Sec. Alazar is available below and at this link.


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