Opinion: Why you should worry about drug companies’ reliance on Chinese ingredients
Henry I. Miller and John J. Cohrssen
China has become the world’s largest producer and exporter of “active pharmaceutical ingredients,” the base components drug companies use to manufacture most of the medications we rely on. China’s dominance puts both the health of Americans and our national security at risk.
According to the findings of a new report from the U.S.-China Economic Security Review Commission, which was established by Congress in 2000, China’s pharmaceutical industry “is not effectively regulated by the Chinese government” and has been responsible for a number of drug safety scandals.
Our dependence on Chinese pharmaceutical products, the commission concluded, means “the American public, including its armed forces, are at risk of exposure to contaminated and dangerous medicines.”
The risk comes not only from the possibility of poorly overseen manufacturing, but also because of possible interruptions in production or a trade war. “Should Beijing opt to use U.S. dependence on China as an economic weapon and cut supplies of critical drugs,” the report noted, “it would have a serious effect on the health of U.S. consumers.”