Bill targets essential medicines ingredients stockpile

A pair of lawmakers have introduced a bill they said seeks to create an emergency supply of key ingredients used in essential generic medicines.

Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) maintain the bipartisan Promoting Readiness and Ensuring Proper Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Reserves of Essential Medicines (PREPARE) Act of 2021 would also incentivize domestic manufacturing of the ingredients as a means of bolstering the nation’s supply chain.

“COVID reminded us that we are too reliant on foreign countries for generic drugs and pharmaceutical products,” Cassidy said. “This bill brings enough production back to the U.S. so America is better prepared.”

Bill features, per authorities, include the expansion of an Executive Order requiring the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to establish and make public a list of essential generic medicines medically necessary to have available at all times. The bill also includes the establishment of a new Director of the Strategic Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Reserve within HHS to manage a domestic reserve of essential Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) as well as a new federal entity to identify, purchase, track, transport, manage, store and convert an emergency supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients for essential generic medicines.

“The pandemic has revealed gaping holes and vulnerabilities in our supply chains — perhaps none more critical than our medical supply chain,” Brown said. “This bipartisan legislation will help build emergency capacity for essential medicines here in the U.S. There is no reason we should be relying on countries like China or India for nearly 90 percent of these critical pharmaceutical ingredients, when we have talented scientists and manufacturers right here.”

Douglas Clark

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