America is Too Dependent on China's Medical Supply Chain

| Washington Examiner

Dozens of headlines over the past few weeks have confirmed an alarming fact: China’s medical supplies don’t work. Yet we continue to order them.


Canada’s public health authority is only the latest to announce that nearly one million KN95 respirators China had sent failed to meet health professionals’ standards. Spain’s health ministry had earlier announced that it is seeking compensation for 640,000 defective coronavirus tests that China had delivered. These tests were supposed to replace the old supply that Spain had purchased from China, which had also been defective.

This is the norm, not the exception, for Chinese goods. Australia, Britain, the Czech Republic, Finland, India, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Turkey, and several other countries have all purchased medical equipment from China that turned out to be defective. Yet China remains the world’s top medical supplier.

In the U.S., alone, China supplies more than 90% of our antibiotics and a large percentage of our biologics and FDA-approved medical devices, according to the American Enterprise Institute. Our dependence on China-sourced pharmaceuticals has gotten to the point where we can’t even produce our own penicillin.

China knows that this dependence is one of our greatest weaknesses, and it has already tried to exploit it. Xi Jinping’s regime began hoarding N95 respirators, booties, gloves, and other supplies produced by their factories, according to U.S health officials, and when confronted by the Trump administration, Xi threatened to cut off our supply of drugs and plunge the U.S. into “the mighty sea of the coronavirus.”

It’s a shame that it took a global pandemic to expose that China is a manipulative and dishonest competitor that wants nothing more than to build up its position using force and our economic dependence. China's cheaply manufactured medical supplies are putting at risk the lives of doctors, nurses, and patients alike. So not only is this an economic catastrophe, it’s also a health hazard.

The U.S. needs to launch a national effort to produce more of its own medicines and equipment, and the Trump administration should lead that effort. The federal government can entice U.S. companies to return to our shores with tax breaks and other economic incentives, while favoring American-made pharmaceuticals through federally-funded programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare.

Breaking away from China’s supply chain will undoubtedly create costs — the prices of our drugs and supplies will likely rise, at least at first. But that’s a small price to pay for reliability and quality. Our hospitals should not be searching aimlessly for ventilators, nor should our healthcare workers be forced to re-use medical masks because China's didn't work and we were unable manufacture our own. READ MORE

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