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Lankford Wants the US Pharmaceutical Supply Chain to be Better Prepared for Health, National Security Threats

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Mike Braun (R-IN) to introduce the Mapping America’s Pharmaceutical Supply (MAPS) Act, which would help the federal government better prepare for future public health threats by creating a database to map vulnerabilities in the pharmaceutical supply chain. The database would include the country of origin, quantity, and other key information about critical drug products to identify supply chain weaknesses that could lead to shortages or other challenges.

“US dependence on pharmaceutical drugs and products from other countries, like communist China, is a major concern for our national security,” said Lankford. “China can cut off supplies at their will, as we saw during the first months of the COVID pandemic when China withheld PPE from OK healthcare providers and families. We should have transparency and diversity in our pharma supply chain so we are never vulnerable to a communist nation for our healthcare needs.”

“As we saw firsthand during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal agencies did not have enough visibility into our reliance on foreign manufacturers and other chokepoints in the supply chain, limiting their ability to anticipate and respond to drug shortages and related challenges,” said Peters. “This bipartisan legislation will provide the federal government with a more comprehensive understanding of the weaknesses in our pharmaceutical supply chains so we can take steps to address them and prevent future shortages.”

“This bill will shed light on the weaknesses in our pharmaceutical supply chains and allow us to make better informed decisions to address vulnerabilities in our drug supply chain,” said Braun.

The bill would require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a federal database to map the origin of each drug, the location of the facilities used to manufacture them, and associated inspections and risks, such as recalls and import alerts. HHS will use this information to make data-driven decisions on supply chain threats and how to increase resiliency through strategic investments in domestic manufacturing. The bill also requires HHS to report to Congress on how they are using the database to predict and prevent vulnerabilities for critical drug supply chains and what gaps in data remain.

The legislation builds on recommendations from two reports in 2019 and 2023 that identified national security concerns related to our nation’s overdependence on foreign sources for critical drug products and insufficient visibility into US pharmaceutical supply chains. The 2023 report found that both industry and the federal government lack visibility into the entire pharmaceutical supply chain—from the key ingredients needed to make drugs to the distribution of those products, presenting both health and national security risks.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many of these longstanding challenges, and a 2022 report examining the federal pandemic response found that federal agencies struggled to obtain needed supply chain data in critical early months that could have informed federal actions to mitigate shortages.  

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