Coronavirus Is Threatening Our Prescription Drugs That Are Made In China

( – The situation in China relating the coronavirus is getting pretty scary. In fact, as recently as this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the U.S. should prepare for the inevitable spread of the virus into America.

China has been criticized heavily across the world for their lack of efforts, or ineffective efforts, to stop the spread of the disease. Now, with coronavirus outbreaks happening in Italy, South Korea and Iran, the U.S. is trying to do all it can to avoid a similar epidemic here.

One such way legislators are trying to do that is by reducing the country’s reliance on China for certain products.

On Wednesday, Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri introduced legislation that he believes would help reduce America’s reliance on the Chinese for manufacturing certain medical supplies and prescription drugs. In a statement, he said:

“The coronavirus outbreak in China has highlighted severe and longstanding weaknesses in our medical supply chain. Our health officials need to know the extent of our reliance on Chinese production so they can take all necessary action to protect Americans.”

Hawley believes there is urgency in this matter, as the production of about 150 prescription drugs is being threatened by the coronavirus outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Included in that number are a few brand-name drugs that currently have no generic alternative.

The bill that Hawley introduce, according to a press packet he released, would “give new authority to the FDA to request information from manufacturers of essential drugs or devices regarding all aspects of their manufacturing capacity … and any other details the FDA deems relevant to assess the security of the U.S. medical product supply chain.”

The coronavirus outbreak has highlighted a serious and glaring weakness in the manufacturing supply chain of a number of important industries throughout the United States, not just in regards to prescriptions and medical devices. Apple, for example, has seen a slowdown in production of its iPhone, while Tesla had to completely shut down one of its factories in Shanghai.

Fears about how the coronavirus will affect business here and abroad are ramping up every day. Stocks on Wall Street have plunged for six days in a row. All three major indices — the S&P 500, the Nasdaq and the Dow Jones Industrial Average — all entered correction mode, which is classified as a 10% drop from the 52-week high point.

On Thursday morning alone, the Dow fell 2%, the S&P fell 2.1% and the Nasdaq 2.7% at the opening bell.

Throughout the world, coronavirus cases have been reported in 47 countries, according to the World Health Organization, with more cases now being reported outside of China than within. To make matters even more scary, the CDC said Wednesday that a patient in California became the first “community transmission” of the coronavirus — meaning the patient was neither exposed to someone who had coronavirus nor traveled to an area that was infected by the virus.

President Donald Trump has attempted to ease fears about the spread of coronavirus in the U.S., but his words haven’t seemed to quell concerns just yet. As Hawley and other legislators in Washington are touting, now is the time to start making arrangements to keep things internal while the virus is contained.