If you are a regular consumer of high blood pressure or high cholesterol tablets, you probably don’t give much of a thought about where these drugs come from or what would happen if your pharmacy fails to fulfill your medical needs. But what Americans don’t understand can harm them when it comes to the sources of their prescription drugs.
90 percent of the drugs consumed by Americans are generic. However, before arriving at the pharmacies, these drugs come as active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). China now holds a monopoly over the market globally. Even though, India is a big manufacturer just like china it still imports 80% of its ingredients from China.
There is no proper measurement of the percentage of active ingredients in U.S drugs that are produced in China, but it’s substantial and increasing with time. Approximately 80 percent of active ingredient producers are outside the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has said, and China is the only provider for some important drugs. For example, China is the main producer of the ingredients of some of the main antibiotic and blood pressure medicines and many other important drugs. Hence, it can be said that China holds monopoly on the ingredients needed to produce significant medicines.
Because of the quality deficiencies, the supply chain already presents an important public safety problem which is why depending on only one supplier for significant ingredients is risky. If China closed the door to medicine exports and their main ingredients and raw materials, U.S. hospitals and military hospitals and clinics would cease to operate within months, if not days
If relationships continue to deteriorate, the Chinese government may search for “pressure points” where it may exert outsize leverage or force a U.S. policy shift.
Recently, the U.S .- China Economic and Security Review Commission, a federally chartered committee responsible for tracking the safety consequences of the U.S .- China financial partnership, examined supply chain vulnerabilities for pharmaceutical ingredients. To tackle this pressing issue, policymakers need to know where future choke points exist and how we can build ability outside China to compensate for future supply disruptions.