SAMS urges passage of bipartisan, common-sense reforms to help address growing domestic supply chain woes.
May 17, 2023 — WASHINGTON, D.C. — Securing America’s Medicines and Supply (SAMS), a multi-industry coalition of companies with the mission to strengthen the security of the medical supply chain, applauded the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) O&I Subcommittee for holding a hearing last week on drug shortages. The hearing underscored the acute risks patients face daily to maintain access to essential medicines.
“SAMS calls on Congress to pass legislation to address supply chain risks by supporting American manufacturers and patients,” said David Sanders, Executive Director of SAMS. “We urge lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to consider bipartisan solutions to holistically address our country’s supply chain woes.”
“85% of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) are from foreign countries and 60% of our finished dose forms are from foreign countries… what is stopping us from cutting out that middleman?”Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX)
Among the witnesses at the hearing was Anthony Sardella, Chair of the API Innovation Center and Senior Research Advisor for the Center for Analytics and Business Insights at the Washington University in St. Louis. Sardella noted the findings of his most recent study, which found that 30% of U.S. pharmaceutical manufacturing sites are at or less than 50% utilization. “COVID-19 revealed the country’s over-reliance on foreign production of essential drugs,” Sardella noted. “We must address the economic instability of the generic pharmaceutical market and must expand public-private partnerships to incentivize domestic drug manufacturing.
Other witnesses testified regarding the seriousness of the ongoing drug shortages in the United States. Alex Oshmyansky, the CEO of the Cost Plus Drug Company, stated that “The treatment for an acute asthma attack and several chemotherapeutic drugs for cancer are in shortage… How is it that they are unavailable in the United States, the wealthiest country in the history of human civilization?”
Professor Laura Bray, Founder of Angels for Change, a nonprofit that seeks to address drug shortages, noted the difficulty she faced in finding critical cancer medication for children. “Secure the supply chain for all patients and make a more resilient supply chain,” said Bray.
Professor Fernando Muzzio, a biochemistry expert from Rutgers University, added that “a number of economic constraints” have led to an almost 30-year trend of offshoring American medical production and called for a “sustained plan over many years… to make [domestic manufacturing] profitable again.”
Members of Congress joined the witnesses in highlighting the need to address the vulnerabilities in the medical supply chain. Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) stated that “85% of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) are from foreign countries and 60% of our finished dose forms are from foreign countries… what is stopping us from cutting out that middleman?”
Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL) noted the debilitating impact of drug shortages and the need for supporting domestic manufacturers. “When drugs are in short supply, lifesaving care can be delayed or canceled.”
Subcommittee Chairman Morgan Griffith (R-WV) most aptly summarized the hearing. “Our dependence on China represents a serious national security risk,” he said during his opening remarks.
SAMS praised members on both sides of the aisle for their hard-hitting questions. “The testimony from all the witnesses and members of Congress was a powerful reminder that innovative U.S. companies have the capacity to help secure our supply,” said Sanders. “Through a combination of legislative policies, public-private partnerships, and bolstering our relationships with critical geopolitical allies, we can make sure nobody has to struggle to find their medicine.”
According to the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, there are currently over 247 active drug shortages. SAMS looks forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Congress and the Administration to take timely action to address these shortages and prevent future ones.
About Securing America’s Medicines and Supply
Securing America’s Medicines and Supply (SAMS) is a multi-industry coalition of companies with the mission to strengthen the security of the medical supply chain in the United States. SAMS seeks to drive the implementation of legislation and regulation to reward and foster U.S.-made manufacturing of important pharmaceutical products, devices, and supplies. SAMS supports U.S. patients, domestic healthcare security, and U.S. jobs.