Trump signs executive order to boost U.S. production of essential medicine

President Trump has signed an executive order aimed at boosting U.S. production of medicines, medical equipment, and protective gear. "We will bring our pharmaceutical and medical supply chains home—we're going to bring them home where they belong—and we will end reliance on China," Trump said during a visit to the Whirlpool Corp.

President Trump has signed an executive order aimed at boosting U.S. production of medicines, medical equipment, and protective gear. "We will bring our pharmaceutical and medical supply chains home—we're going to bring them home where they belong—and we will end reliance on China," Trump said during a visit to the Whirlpool Corp. manufacturing plant in Ohio. According to Peter Navarro, the president's trade adviser, the executive order features a "buy American" requirement for government agencies such as HHS, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Defense Department. The requirement would help establish demand for investment in the manufacturing process, Navarro noted. China is considered the world's largest supplier of the active pharmaceutical ingredients needed for medicines. A 2019 U.S. government report concluded that such reliance on China increases the likelihood of shortages should there be a problem with Chinese manufacturing. However, experts note that a manufacturing revival for drugs in the United States will not be immediate, as building new facilities takes years of planning, investment, and regulatory approvals. Navarro did not estimate the percentage of production the Trump administration hopes to bring to the United States. "But at a minimum, we need to have enough production to deal with pandemics or [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] threats," he said. Navarro added the order would require deregulation, including a condition for the Environmental Protection Agency administrator to streamline processes for the development of advanced manufacturing facilities.