Trump’s call for essential drugs to be made in US threatens innovation, says trade groupBMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3170 (Published 11 August 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3170
All rapid responses
The warning by Stephen Ubl, president of PhRMA (the drug industry organisation) is false on the following misconceptions.
1. Roughly 80% of all pharmaceutical prescriptions in the US and Europe are generics.
2. Most of the funding pharmaceutical research is still done at NIH and the universities in US and Europe. So the basic pharmaceutical knowledge for NCE’s is still very much present in the OECD-countries.
3. The quality controls of the bulk pharmaceutical products from India and China are leaking. Even FDA and EMA are not capable of controlling e.g. the more than 40.000 pharmaceutical companies in China (K. Eban, “Bottle of Lies’ ; R. Gibson, J. Prasad Singh “China Rx”).
4. Now about 90% of all pharmaceuticals in OECD are imported from China and India. So in times of crisis – like Covid-19 – the extreme dependence is brought into the lime light. What to do if China or India stops the export of basic pharmaceuticals in times of international political upheaval?
5. In the long run, the know-how in the west will vanish if the present situation continues. Also our young scientists are not practically trained in the processing of these pharmaceuticals made in China and India. Valuable knowledge will be lost and could only be repaired at great cost.
6. Even production facilities in OECD-countries will in some time to come, not be in use or even exist anymore. So the OECD have no means to act at short notice in case of crisis.
7. So it is a sound policy to keep on producing strategically important and necessary goods – at least for a large portion – in our OECD-countries.
Competing interests: No competing interests