By MOAA Staff
MOAA has backed legislation that would require DoD to purchase only American-made medicines and vaccines, and to identify any security issues stemming from the overdependence on China for the supply of many drugs and drug ingredients. A recent commentary from MOAA board member Rear Adm. Tom Jurkowky, USN (Ret), lays out the case for such a stance.
“Our dependence on China for antibiotics and other medicines has been steadily rising,” Jurkowsky wrote in a piece that appeared Dec. 27 in The Capital newspaper of Annapolis, Md. “If China were to ever shut the door on exports, both military and civilian hospitals would cease to function within months.”
A bipartisan House bill – H.R. 4710, introduced by Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) and cosponsor Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) – would require DoD to include “steps to strengthen the United States industrial base and to assure an uninterrupted supply of medicines” in the national defense strategy, per the legislation.
Such steps would counter existing problems outlined in Jurkowsky’s article, such as China’s virtual control of the manufacturing process for certain types of medications and drug materials. One example: The last U.S. penicillin fermentation plant announced its closure in 2004.
“Millions of Americans ingest drugs made in China, and they likely don’t know it,” Jurkowsky wrote. “Hundreds of thousands of doctors prescribe them. Although the medicines may be packaged to look like American products, they aren’t.”
Read Jurkowsky’s full piece here. Read another piece from the board member that appeared recently in The Hill newspaper here. Lend your voice to MOAA’s fight for drug safety and national security here.