Reps. Harshbarger, Vargas Introduce Bill to Strengthen and Secure Medical Supply Chains

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Yesterday, Representatives Diana Harshbarger (TN-01) and Juan Vargas (CA-52) introduced the United States-Abraham Accords Cooperation and Security Act, bipartisan legislation that will establish a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Abraham Accords bureau to provide guidance and technical assistance aimed at protecting our medical supply chains and ending our reliance on adversarial nations like China.

More than 80% of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) for drugs sold in the U.S. are imported from foreign countries, primarily India and China. While India is the largest producer of generic medication, even they are dependent on China for the vast majority of API in pharmaceutical products produced in India. As the U.S. works toward securing critical healthcare supply chains from reliance on adversarial countries like China, the strategy of "friend-shoring" or "near-shoring" has emerged as part of the solution for industries in which domestic production is not yet available.

The U.S. must end it's reliance on adversarial nations, like China, for medical products and instead enter a partnership with friends and allies overseas while on-shore and domestic pharmaceutical production lines are built to scale.

The United States-Abraham Accords Cooperation and Security Act is common-sense legislation that will diversify and protect our access to crucial medical product supply chains, promote national security by reducing our reliance on our adversaries, and promote peace in the Middle East through encouraging ties between Arab states and Israel. This critical bill will task the Abraham Accords FDA bureau to:

  • Develop a list of essential medical products that are primarily manufactured in countries of concern and submit it to Congress
  • Consult with parties in Abraham Accords countries on good manufacturing practices and other issues relevant to manufacturing medical products that are regulated by the FDA
  • Facilitate interactions between FDA and interested parties in Abraham Accords countries, including by sharing relevant information regarding United States regulatory pathways
  • Offer technical assistance on manufacturing drugs and devices to interested parties in Abraham Accords countries

"Our continued dependence on foreign countries, especially our adversaries such as China, for pharmaceutical products endangers our medical supply chains and jeopardizes our national security," said Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger. "My United States-Abraham Accords Cooperation and Security Act will establish FDA posts in Abraham Accords countries, notably our ally Israel, in order to promote robust and resilient medical supply chains. This vital legislation addresses the high priority need to diversify our medical product supply chains, bolsters our national and healthcare security, and marks a significant step toward ending our reliance on China for vital pharmaceutical products."

“I’m pleased to cosponsor the United States-Abraham Accords Cooperation and Security Act, which would establish an FDA office in Israel. This legislation will increase economic ties and promote peace between our countries and our Abraham Accord Partners,” said Rep. Vargas “Diversifying supply chains helps to make sure that Americans continue to have access to the drugs they rely on. By putting FDA experts on the ground in Israel and the Middle East, this legislation will support efforts to develop safe drugs and new technologies.”

The legislation has support amongst healthcare advocacy organizations and business leaders in Abraham Accord counties, including the U.S. Israel Education Association (USIEA).

"We applaud Reps. Harshbarger, Vargas, and their bipartisan colleagues for introducing this important legislation. With the rise of the Abraham Accords normalization treaties in the Middle East and the economic and medical innovation that is peaking in the region, the vision to friend-shore a significant portion of America’s critical medical supply chains has never been more relevant or achievable," said Heather Johnston, founder and CEO of the U.S. Israel Education Association (USIEA). There is a bright economic, diplomatic, and collaborative future for all who are involved. For the U.S., the motivation is not so much financial as it is an increasing national security issue to urgently protect our medical supply chains and fortify relationships with our key allies in the region.

The legislation has bipartisan support, with Representatives Randy Weber (R-TX), Scott Peters (D-CA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Mike Levin (D-CA), and Rick Allen (R-GA) as original co-sponsors.

A summary of the bill can be found here.

Full text of the bill can be found here.

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