HENRICO, V.A. – U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger is backing two bipartisan bills to strengthen the capacity and security of the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain amid fears of drug shortages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spanberger cosponsored the National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Manufacturing Act, which would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to partner with universities as designated “National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing.” Under this designation, universities would work with the FDA and private companies to further develop and implement continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing technology—whereby a finished product is produced in a continuous stream. The implementation of this technology would decrease production costs, improve quality monitoring, and reduce production interruptions that cause shortages.
“This is critical legislation to help address a major public health and national security issue,” said Michael Rao, President, Virginia Commonwealth University. “We appreciate Congresswoman Spanberger’s co-sponsorship of this bipartisan bill that would enable universities like VCU, with its Medicines for All Institute, to further innovations in the manufacturing of life-saving drugs in the United States.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed critical vulnerabilities in our pharmaceutical supply chain. Thankfully, the tools to solve this challenge can be developed here at home through the incredible innovation of our students, our researchers, our universities, and our companies,” said Spanberger. “I’m proud to support legislation that would increase the competitiveness of American-made pharmaceuticals and allow our nation’s manufacturers to better prevent and respond to shortages. By promoting cutting-edge manufacturing processes at research instructions in Virginia and across the country, we can create more American jobs, strengthen the resiliency of our supply chain, and reduce our dependence on foreign-based pharmaceuticals.”
Additionally, Spanberger cosponsored the Pharmaceutical Independence Long-Term Readiness Reform Act, which would require the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to report to Congress on the vulnerabilities of its supply chain caused by the country’s dependence on Chinese pharmaceuticals, while also requiring that the DoD only purchase American-made raw materials, medicines, and vaccines. China is the second-largest supplier of pharmaceuticals to the United States and the primary supplier of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients for pharmaceuticals produced in other countries.
“The supply of medicines for our servicemen and women should not be dependent on the decisions of the Chinese Government. In the face of this persistent national security threat, we must redouble our efforts to produce pharmaceuticals and other products here at home, rather than continue to leave our Armed Forces vulnerable,” said Spanberger. “The safety of our servicemembers and their families should always be one of our top priorities, and this bipartisan bill would provide a commonsense way to ensure their safety: require the Pentagon to purchase American-made materials.”
Spanberger cosponsored these two bills in the face of increased risks of drug shortages, as these bipartisan bills could become complimentary pieces of a strategy to modernize and grow American pharmaceutical manufacturing.
The National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Act is led in the U.S. House by U.S. Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY-02), and the Pharmaceutical Independence Long-Term Readiness Reform Act is led in the U.S. House by U.S. Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA-03) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04).
Click here to read the National Centers of Excellence in Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Act, and click here to read the Pharmaceutical Independence Long-Term Readiness Reform Act.