Yesterday, Congressman Jason Smith (R-MO) introduced the Secure America’s Medicine Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to begin procuring critical medications the Federal Government should ensure are readily available for the American public in the event of another national health emergency.
According to Congressman Smith, one of the lasting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic is that it has shown us our overreliance upon foreign drug manufacturing clearly puts American lives at risk. Earlier this year, Congressman Smith had his amendment pass the U.S. House of Representatives requiring HHS to compile a list of those critical medications for procurement. This legislation takes the next step in now requiring HHS to begin the process of securing and building our own domestic stockpile of those medications. The Strategic National Stockpile would be required to maintain specific inventory levels of designated critical medications or their key ingredients in specified domestic locations.
“We know we can no longer rely on adversarial nations for the life-sustaining medications Americans need,” said Congressman Smith. “Hostile authoritarian regimes—like the Chinese Communist Party—should never have the ability to decide which drugs the American people have access to. We cannot allow China to hold American lives in its hands.”
“My legislation will ensure our National Strategic Stockpile has the critical drugs that Americans need in the event of another public health emergency,” Smith continued. “More importantly, this legislation will show us where the vulnerabilities in our supply chain exist to serve as a blueprint to put the American people back in control of our medical supply chain. Bringing pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the United States is one of President Trump’s top priorities, and this legislation will accomplish exactly that.”
The U.S. House of Representatives previously passed Rep. Smith’s amendment to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish a list of critical medications on July 30, 2020. This legislation expands upon that amendment to also require the procurement of those medications.