Sen. Blackburn urges US to stop relying on ‘madmen in Beijing’ for drugs
WASHINGTON — Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is urging the U.S. to end its reliance on “madmen in Beijing” for pharmaceuticals amid fears the deadly coronavirus pandemic will lead to drug shortages.
Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Tom Cotton on Wednesday echoed fears from experts that America is too dependent on China to produce crucial medicine and said the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened critical supply chains.
“We need to end Chinese control over our health and wellness in this pharmaceutical supply chain,” Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said on the floor of the Senate, calling for an increase in domestic production.
“This may seem like something that is too large or too risky an undertaking, but we have already paid dearly for our reliance on Chinese drug manufacturers,” she added.
“It’s not going to stop because that vulnerability is leverage in the hands of madmen in Beijing who seek nothing but power and will go to any lengths to acquire that power.”
More than 80 percent of the basic components in U.S. drugs come from China — with Chinese pharmaceutical firms producing 97 percent of America’s antibiotics, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Last month, the Food and Drug Administration announced at least one drug was in short supply because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but refused to say what the drug was.
Cotton (R-Ark.) said the Chinese government was “dishonest” and “the enemy of the United States.”
“The Chinese Communist Party unleashed this plague on the world that turned what could have been a local health problem in Wuhan into a global pandemic,” he told “Hannity” on Wednesday evening.
“It’s one thing to have jobs that make lawn chairs or toy trinkets in China. It’s another thing to make basic pharmaceuticals that we need, like antibiotics or penicillin, ibuprofen, advil,” he added.
“It’s crazy that we are dependent upon China, a country that at this very moment is still threatening to withhold those critical medical supplies from the United States.”
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