Chinese outsourcing poses new risks

What's the biggest risk of relying on Chinese drug manufacturers? Ask any five people on the street, and you'd likely get "contamination" as your answer five times. But experts are increasingly worried that China's explosive growth in drug and active-ingredient manufacturing presents a national-security risk.

Yes, a national security risk. Here's a scenario: Say there's an anthrax attack in the U.S., and thousands of people need antibiotics to either treat or prevent the disease. The active ingredients for anthrax treatments are only made in China and India now. Indeed, chemicals for a host of meds are churned out in China daily. If China and Taiwan had a conflict, would the U.S. still be able to get those active ingredients? "The whole drug supply could be in jeopardy in these kinds of situations," one market-watcher theorized.

That market-watcher happens to be president of a chemicals manufacturing trade group, so he has a particular interest in wooing active ingredient manufacturing back to the West. Still, as reliance on Chinese drug and chemicals makers continues to grow--just think of all the drug makers pledging to outsource more of their manufacturing--it's a point to ponder.

- read the article from the Kansas City Star