US has capacity to make essential drugs, study finds
President Joe Biden signed an executive order Sept. 12 to launch a National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative, noting the United States relies too heavily on foreign materials and foreign bioproduction. Offshoring of critical industries threatens the nation’s ability to access materials such as important chemicals and active pharmaceutical ingredients.
Consider the prescriptions you or your loved ones need for high blood pressure, infections or other ailments. Chances are, no manufacturing source exists in the United States for critical generic drugs or their active ingredients.
In fact, in 2021 the White House sounded the alarm about vulnerabilities in the pharmaceutical supply chain. “The disappearance of domestic production of essential antibiotics impairs our ability to counter threats ranging from pandemics to bio-terrorism,” a White House report proclaimed.
Insufficient U.S. manufacturing capacity due to offshoring was largely to blame. But new research from Washington University in St. Louis’ Center for Analytics and Business Insights (CABI) at Olin Business School found that the U.S. actually has the capacity to make the nation’s most essential and critical drugs — yet it’s mostly sitting idle.