MOAA Board Member: COVID-19 Makes Chinese Medication Stronghold ‘Even More Frightening’

MOAA Board Member: COVID-19 Makes Chinese Medication Stronghold ‘Even More Frightening’
Photo illustration by John Phillips/Getty Images

By MOAA Staff


The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the country’s need to cut its drug dependency on China, according to a recent commentary by a MOAA board member that appeared in The Capital newspaper of Annapolis, Md.


“The issue has become even more frightening as the search continues for vaccines to fight the coronavirus,” wrote Rear Adm. Tom Jurkowsky, USN (Ret). “But the coronavirus takes the problem beyond the context of the military. Our dependence on China for drugs is truly a national security issue that affects each and every citizen.”


[TAKE ACTION: Ask Congress to Secure America’s Pharmaceutical Supply]


China’s stronghold on prescription drugs could endanger the United States, as medicines in the hands of an adversary can be weaponized, Jurkowsky wrote.  


“Clearly, making this investment will help reinvigorate the U.S. generic manufacturing base and capacity,” he wrote. “It’s a necessary step for the U.S. to achieve even a minimum level of self-sufficiency in manufacturing pharmaceuticals vital to our nation’s health security. The time to cut our drug dependency on China is now – and well overdue.”


In March, health care author and adviser Rosemary Gibson testified before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, where she said $8.3 billion in emergency supplemental package to respond to coronavirus is a critical step forward, but doesn’t include funding for the United States to manufacture generic drugs. This leaves the nation reliant on China for manufacturing, she said.


Gibson recently co-authored China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America's Dependence on China for Medicine, which provides insight into China’s role in the prescription and over-the-counter drug market. She also wrote an article about the U.S. dependence on Chinese drugs and drug ingredients for the April 2019 edition of Military Officer magazine.


Read Jurkowsky’s full commentary here.

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