Rep. French Hill to Newsmax TV: Cut US Reliance on Chinese Health Supplies

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Washington, May 6, 2020 | comments
Rep. French Hill to Newsmax TV: Cut US Reliance on Chinese Health Supplies


The coronavirus pandemic exposed a massive dependence on health supplies from China, but his new bill cuts U.S. reliance on foreign goods during future health crises, Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., told Newsmax TV.

"We were caught in this pandemic in low tide with no bathing suit on. I think it exposed terribly our dependence on foreign countries and foreign manufacturers for key pharmaceutical elements that go in our drugs, particularly our generic drugs, and our medical supplies," Hill told Wednesday's "America Agenda."

In late March, Hill introduced the Securing America’s Vaccines for Emergencies (SAVE) Act, designed to "diversify" the U.S. health care supply chain and break this country's reliance on Chinese goods.

"The Save Act would amend the Defense Production Act ... to put the medical supply chain and the pharmaceutical supply chain formally as a part of the Defense Production Act and plan accordingly to diversify that supply chain," Hill said.

When the coronavirus pandemic struck and states needed to treat patients, they reached out to the federal government which handed out medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile. But many received rotten masks, broken ventilators, and other out-of-date or inoperable devices.

"We know about the stockpile. Was the stockpile adequate? Did the Congress really and the executive branch have a comprehensive pandemic preparation that could be as big as the coronavirus that's hit the U.S.," Hill said. "And a key element is there is what? Manufacturing capacity for vaccines for therapeutic treatments and for those key medical supplies. So I feel like we were not prepared in that regard and that we should have a better plan going forward. And I believe the SAVE Act could be part of that plan."

U.S. officials have accused China of hoarding key medical supplies when the pandemic first broke. Hill said the SAVE Act would prevent that from happening in the future.

"I think China has been very, very predatory in their effort to identify key supply chain elements, particularly in pharmaceuticals, and take over that supply chain and undercut that price and dominate the supply. All of our ibuprofen, for example, comes from China," Hill said. "How are we going to hold China accountable for the actions they've taken in the pandemic ... their reputation is in tatters, it's in tatters in defense policy and in foreign policy ... predatory lending policies in the developing world and now in public health."

He added: "I think you'll see them pay a price, a major economic price by the private sector moving away from China in the supply chain. And I think you'll see the third world and the developing world reject China as an economic player and move to other sources of financing."

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