The coronavirus outbreak could put a dent in America's pharmaceutical drug supply and medical supply chain, according to several news reports.
The U.S. relies heavily on Chinese-made medical devices, drugs for humans and animals, and drug ingredients. The Federal Drug Administration earlier this week said it was paying close attention to the potential challenges the virus might poise.
"FDA is keenly aware that the outbreak will likely affect the medical product supply chain, including potential disruptions to suppliers [and] shortages of critical medical products in the US," FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told reporters Tuesday.
The virus, which started in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 82,600 people in China and at least 47 other countries. Nearly 3,000 people have died.
In the U.S., 57 cases have been confirmed in addition to 39 cases among repatriated persons from high-risk settings.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., plans to introduce legislation aimed at securing the U.S.'s medical supply chain. The bill would amend the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to have the words "or device" listed in order to allow the FDA to monitor medical device shortages with greater accuracy.
Rosemary Gibson, author of the book "China Rx" and a senior adviser at the Hastings Center, told The Washington Post that China has a "global choke hold" on the chemical components that make up key ingredients.
"In the age of a few clicks in a keyboard and items get delivered, we overlook where products come from and the components to make them," she said. "We are dependent on others, and they will keep medicines for their own people."
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