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Democrats and Republicans bashed TikTok’s CEO in a House hearing Thursday — and with good reason. The Chinese app poses a national security risk, as it accumulates troves of data on its American users. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s comment that “I don’t think spying is the right way to describe it,” only added to the concerns.
Another really bad Chinese threat — bigger and more immediate — doesn’t get the same attention. China has a stifle in our pharmaceutical supply chain. Beijing controls many — in some cases, all the active ingredients for the treatments found in medicine boxes, the medicines used in emergency rooms and even the antibiotics given to soldiers on the battlefield.
The prescription bottles in your locker don’t say “Made in China,” but nearly all of them do, including 97 percent of American antibiotics, by some estimates.
In a tense situation, Beijing could simply cut off shipments of antibiotics, cancer drugs and other medicines, forcing the United States to concede its demands. Our survival depends on their goodwill. horrifying.
China quickly occupied the pharmaceutical ingredients market. Until the mid-1990s, the West and Japan produced 90 percent of the world’s active pharmaceutical ingredients. By 2017, China was producing 40 percent. Almost all drug pipelines now start in China. Even India, another giant drug-producing company, relies on China for 70 percent of its active pharmaceutical ingredients.
The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Gary Peters, warned that dependence on outsiders was an “unacceptable national security risk.” But talk is cheap.
With China’s grip tightening, the federal government is doing almost nothing, according to the commission’s report released last week.
In 2019, Congress asked the Food and Drug Administration to list the life-saving medicines that Americans rely on and the countries that supply them. The FDA still hasn’t done so. FDA bureaucrats pathetically plead, in so many words, that there is too much work to be done to beat down applicants put forward by drug producers for information.
Things get worse. In 2021, A.J Department of Defense Inspector General A scathing report that the Department of Defense lacks strategies to circumvent dependence on foreign drug suppliers. However, as of last week, the Department of Defense still hasn’t collected data on where its drugs come from or what can be done to overcome suffocation.
President Joe Biden’s Department of Defense considers securing medicine for the military a lower priority than wake-up goals like lessons of conscience, sex reassignment surgery for transgender individuals, and climate change.
Biden himself has told Air Force personnel that global warming is the greatest threat facing America. Biden proposes spending “billions” on electrifying every military vehicle, but only $60 million — a fraction of that sum — to stimulate domestic manufacturing of drugs. That says it all.
Sorry, Mr. President, but China should not control access to medicine for our soldiers and citizens.
Even in peacetime, America’s dependence on distant drug suppliers is problematic. Parents race frantically from drug store to drug store to get amoxicillin for their child’s strep throat and medication for ADHD.
Dependence on China also means accepting drugs made in dirty factories that are rarely, or never, inspected by the FDA, according to the Public Accountability Office report. In 2008, a contaminated blood thinner from China, heparin, killed 81 American patients.
It’s time to bring the medicine back home. One obvious way is to restore Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code, which Congress enacted in 1976 to attract the industry to Puerto Rico. He gave companies a tax credit equal to what they had to pay the federal government on their profits there. Drug factories quickly sprang up there, and by 1990, 17 of the 21 prescription drugs in the United States were manufactured in Puerto Rico. When Congress ended subsidies, the drug industry moved halfway around the world to China, but some factories are still idle.
In normal times, Democrats would reject tax breaks for drug companies. But even oncologist Ezekiel J. Emanuel, a Democrat and former health advisor to Obama, recommended this quick fix to a serious situation.
For all this money Americans spend on medicineThere is no reason to settle for cheap and sometimes polluting Chinese ingredients and the looming threat of a Chinese blockade. Tell Congress to act.