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Tags: China | pharmaceutical | production | Trump | India | COVID19

Fight Viruses By Bringing Drug Manufacturing Home

bottles of medication being manufactured
(Baloncici | Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 16 April 2020 01:52 PM EDT

An Ongoing Series on Coronavirus

"That Terminator is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop until you are dead. That's what he does! That's ALL he does!"

— Reese, referring to Arnold Schwarzenegger's character, The Terminator

That chilling dialogue from 1984's "The Terminator" remains part of pop culture lingo. Interestingly, many parallels can be drawn between the Terminator's methodologies and a virus: neither feels remorse in whom it targets, neither are easily defeated, and neither will stop pursuing its objective. Fortunately, the COVID-19 coronavirus (C19) isn't as interested in ending life as the Terminator was, because a virus that kills its host quickly eventually commits "suicide," starving itself of more victims.

We will eventually beat coronavirus, likely because of American science. But until then, we must prepare for a re-emergence of C19 (should it go dormant), a new strain (should it mutate), or a brand new viral or bacterial threat.

America's top priority should be bringing home manufacturing (in particular, production of medicines and masks), so that America is never again on her knees during a crisis.

Medicine Manufactured In China: As a young child in the 1970s, this author remembers vehicles snaked around fuel pumps, out gas station exits, and down the road for blocks. It was the effect of the OPEC oil embargo, and resulted in soaring fuel costs, rationed gasoline and exorbitant wait times. 

It took several decades, but America finally "got it." Realizing the severe cost to its prestige and national and economic security, the U.S. decided to stop placing its vital interests in the hands of foreign nations. America strove for energy independence, and it succeeded overwhelmingly. Harnessing revolutionary technologies, the U.S. petroleum industry made America the world's leading oil producer (and a net exporter.) Lesson learned.

That same commitment must be geared toward medicine independence. American companies do the heavy lifting in developing drugs, conducting clinical trials, and implementing safety protocols. Yet a staggering 80 percent of pharmaceutical ingredients and drugs are being produced in China and India. That must end.

At any moment, China could cut off drug shipments, effectively weaponizing our life-saving medications. What then? We wouldn't outsource construction of the presidential limousine or a nuclear aircraft carrier to China, so why are we outsourcing our national health to a country that is, at times, an adversary?

The leader most capable of achieving medicine independence is President Trump, as his take-the-bull-by-the-horns approach is exactly what's needed. He called for more domestic drug production back in September, and his track record in getting similar initiatives accomplished speaks volumes. Consider:

  • He made NATO countries pay their previously agreed-upon fair share, when for decades they had not, instead sticking America with the bill.
  • He was the first modern president to lower the corporate tax rate, thus reducing the exodus of companies, and paving the way for trillions in repatriated monies to return to America.
  • He was the first commander-in-chief to rip up one-sided trade deals with China and compel that nation to renegotiate fairer terms.
  • Most recently, Mr. Trump threatened retaliation against India if that nation didn't lift its export ban of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, a medicine that may have therapeutic benefits for C19 patients. Not surprisingly, India reversed itself, and shipments are underway.

That's exactly the kind of leadership needed when fighting a pandemic.

The president needs to use the world's most powerful bully pulpit to A. inform the nation of our dire medicine predicament, B. lay out what he will do (work with Congress to mandate that a percentage of drugs are manufactured in the U.S. by 2021, with a sliding scale to achieve at least 80 percent by 2025), and C. illustrate that this has nothing to do with China, and everything to do with America.

It is imperative to not get caught up in time-killing tangents, such as this being anti-Chinese, or that it gives preferential treatment to pharmaceutical companies. First, it's in every country's self-interest to bring its most valuable assets "in-house." China does the same thing, as it should, so it isn't "racism," but smart nationalism.

Second, our drug manufacturers must be given some protection from frivolous lawsuits and ludicrous jackpot jury awards. That's not giving them a free pass. Instead, it is serving America's most vital interest.

The same rationale for increasing domestic drug production should also be applied to medical masks, gloves, eye protection, ventilators and other critical equipment.

One doesn't have to like President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But if we are to address this nation's Achilles' heel, we must get behind all of those leaders, and implore them to act. The health of every citizen, and the future of America, depends on it.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Freindly Fire Zone Media. Read more reports from Chris Freind — Click Here Now.

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America's top priority should be bringing home manufacturing (in particular, production of medicines and masks), so that America is never again on her knees during a crisis.
China, pharmaceutical, production, Trump, India, COVID19
Thursday, 16 April 2020 01:52 PM
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