Bipartisan caucus in US Congress looks to boost domestic drug manufacturing

Four members of the U.S. House of Representatives have formed a bipartisan group dubbed the Domestic Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Caucus for the 118th Congress. The group will focus on domestic production of finished drugs and active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Members of the caucus said they will look to advance legislation that incentivizes more domestic production for essential medicines as part of an effort to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign countries. The lawmakers also aim to head off potential supply chain disruptions and ensure a steady supply of pharmaceuticals in the event of public health emergencies, they said in a March 28 press release issued by Rep. Buddy Carter, R-Georgia.

Also joining Carter in forming the caucus are Elissa Slotkin, D-Michigan, Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pennsylvania, and Gus Bilirakis, R-Florida.

“The Domestic Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Caucus will provide supply chain security for every American and is another step towards re-shoring this important industry," Carter said in the release.

Slotkin added that: “If COVID taught us anything, it’s that we can’t allow our country to be dependent on others for absolutely critical supplies like life-saving prescription drugs.

“There’s a bunch of Members of Congress, across the political spectrum, who have learned those hard COVID lessons and are hellbent on ensuring we don’t leave ourselves vulnerable again.”

The push in the House echoes calls from the White House. Earlier this month, the Biden administration outlined its goals regarding biomanufacturing.

The White House plan is designed to improve supply chains for critical drugs and better predict future supply chain disruptions like the sort seen over the past several years. The Biden administration aims to use biomanufacturing to produce some 25% of active pharmaceutical ingredients for small-molecule drugs in the U.S.

The government also seeks to predict “at least 50%” of supply chain weaknesses and use biomanufacturing “adjustments” to contend with supply bottlenecks.

Most active pharmaceutical ingredients for the U.S. market are currently produced in countries such as China and India.