Written in North Country Now on March 20, 2020

St. Lawrence County’s representative in Congress is calling for drug production in China for the U.S. domestic market be pulled, and is joining New York’s governor to urge President Trump to ramp up production of personal protective equipment to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, who represents the North Country in the 21st District, is cosponsoring legislation to move American pharmaceutical production out of China.

Stefanik is a cosponsor of the Protecting our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain from China Act, legislation reportedly to take precautions to track active pharmaceutical ingredients, and prohibit purchases from China by the Department of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Defense over a two year phase-in.

The proposed legislation would also create transparency in the supply chain, and provide incentives for manufacturing pharmaceuticals and device manufacturing in the United States.

This legislation is being led by Sen. Tom Cotton in the Senate and Congressman Mike Gallagher in the House of Representatives, said a press release from Stefanik’s office.

“China ran a disinformation campaign to cover up the coronavirus crisis for weeks, putting the rest of the world at a disadvantage in combating the spread,” said Stefanik.

“The time has come for Congress to take serious action to move United States pharmaceutical production out of China. We have become far too dependent on China, and it is time that we equip our domestic pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to be able to efficiently produce these items here in the United States.

“Creating this transparency in the supply chain should bring security not only to our pharmaceutical supply chain, but also to the American people who rely on their products for their own personal health needs,” the Congresswoman said.

More PPE

Following Governor Cuomo’s call on the federal government to release the federal stockpile of medical equipment to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Stefanik joined him in urging the president to ramp up production of PPE and other medical equipment.

On Wednesday, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act, which allows him to direct manufacturers to make certain equipment that is necessary for the United States to deal with a crisis, whether that be a war or a pandemic, in order to promote our national defense.

“I strongly support the call for the federal government to increase production and manufacturing capacity immediately for ventilators and personal protective equipment,” said Stefanik.

“Our health care personnel are working overtime to save lives. We must work together to step up as a nation to meet this unprecedented challenge. I believe President Trump should take action under the Defense Production Act to meet our nation’s needs during this national emergency.”

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