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“Without firing a missile or hacking the electric grid, China can take America down by disrupting access to essential drugs.”
Rosemary Gibson has done a great job alerting us to the genesis of China’s grip on our supply of medications. China is now the largest global supplier of the active ingredients and chemical building blocks needed to make many vitamins, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs. These include antibiotics, steroids, and cancer drugs.
Until the mid-1990s U.S., Europe, and Japan manufactured 90 percent of the global supply of key ingredients for the world’s medications. Our weakness for bargains created a monster. China undercut the price of drugs and components; the artificially low price forces other companies out of the market; then, the company is free to manipulate the price and supply at will. Now more than half of the 4,000 active ingredients needed to make medications are dependent on China.
This episode discusses how and why the United States became so dependent on China for medications, the risks of such dependence, and most importantly, the solutions. The Chinese think ahead with their well-known “five-year plans.” America must start planning for our future as well.
Rosemary Gibson is an award-winning author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, revealing the dramatic shift in where medicines are made and growing concerns about their quality. Ms. Gibson is a graduate of Georgetown University and has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and is Senior Advisor at the Hastings Center and Perspectives Editor at JAMA Internal Medicine. She is the recipient of the highest honor from the American Medical Writers Association for her outstanding contributions to the public’s interest in reporting on critical health care issues. Ms. Gibson testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission and offered common-sense solutions.
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