This is probably just saber-rattling, but it’s still a bit worrisome as the U.S. is struggling to deal with a pandemic. A Chinese state media outlet has published an article bragging about the nation’s control over the supply chain of pharmaceutical drugs:
Now that the number of new people infected with the coronavirus in China is slowing down, the country’s Communist Party is ratcheting up threats against the West, with a particularly nasty warning about access to life-saving drugs aimed at the United States.
In an article in Xinhua, the state-run media agency that’s largely considered the mouthpiece of the party, Beijing bragged about its handling of COVID-19, a virus that originated in the city of Wuhan and has spread quickly around the world, killing nearly 5,000 people and infecting thousands more. The article also claimed that China could impose pharmaceutical export controls which would plunge America into “the mighty sea of coronavirus.”…
Though the United States is a global leader in research, much of the manufacturing of life-saving drugs has moved overseas. The last American manufacturing plant to make a key component in penicillin shuttered in 2004. Since then, Chinese pharmaceuticals companies have moved in and taken over, supplying between 80 percent and 90 percent of U.S. antibiotics, 70 percent of acetaminophen and about 40 percent of heparin, according to Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.
The concern about Chinese control of the drug supply chain is not new. In fact, months before anyone had heard about the new coronavirus, CNBC published a story titled, “U.S. officials worried about Chinese control of American drug supply.”
American national security officials are worried about that scenario as they come to grips with this little-understood fact: The vast majority of key ingredients for drugs that many Americans rely on are manufactured abroad, mostly in China.
As the U.S. defense establishment grows increasingly concerned about China’s potentially hostile ambitions, the pharmaceutical supply chain is receiving new scrutiny.
“If China shut the door on exports of medicines and their key ingredients and raw material, U.S. hospitals and military hospitals and clinics would cease to function within months, if not days,” said Rosemary Gibson, author of a book on the subject, “China RX.”
Now, just a few months later, we’re seeing just how vulnerable we could be. Tucker Carlson revived the issue this week on his show. He’s been on a run of solid statements regarding the coronavirus this week. Here’s Carlson discussing China’s control over our drug supply chain with Sen. Marco Rubio.