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Trump vows to reduce America’s reliance on foreign drug imports

Published on 04/05/20 at 12:12pm
Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

President Donald Trump has vowed to cut the US’s reliance on foreign drugs, singling out China and Ireland as countries he wants to stop buying pharmaceuticals from.

Speaking at a Fox News townhall on Sunday, Trump said: “We’re bringing that whole supply chain back. Nobody has to tell me to do it; I’ve been talking about this for years. It’s not only China, you take a look at Ireland. They make our drugs. We’re all about America first.”

“Ireland does a lot of work for us you know that in that world, in the pharma world. A very tremendous producer and we are looking to bring a lot more back home. We have to be able to take care of our country.”

In response, Ireland’s ambassador to the US, Daniel Mulhall, tweeted: “There are now 500+ Irish companies who employ 100,000 Americans. Ireland and America = a unique economic relationship that benefits both our countries. The supply chains between Ireland and America for pharma & medical products have remained fully intact throughout the #COVIDー19 crisis.”

Ireland exported $53 billion worth of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to the US last year, produced by American companies based in Ireland.

Trump’s comments follow a growing political movement in America to end its reliance on countries overseas for life saving drugs. In March, a bi-partisan bill was put forward in Congress by Republican Senator Marco Rubio. Titled the Strengthening America’s Supply Chain and National Security Act, the bill would direct the Department of Defense (DoD) to determine the extent of its dependency on foreign entities for drugs, active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), and pharmaceutical components, require drugmakers to provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with information to determine volume of APIs used in pharmaceuticals and restore Buy American Act’s intent for DoD and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) purchases.

Commenting on her support for Rubio’s bill, Senator Elizabeth Warren said: “The coronavirus pandemic has made clear what we’ve known for years: that our dependence on drugs and drug components imported from China and other countries is a threat to our national security and our public health. This bipartisan bill proposes commonsense solutions to start addressing this problem, and I’ll keep fighting to secure our drug supply chain and boost manufacturing here in the United States."

Conor Kavanagh

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