Biden is following Trump’s with the onshoring of key pharmaceutical drugs, among other things.
President Biden signed an executive order in late February 2021, directing federal agencies to study ways to secure the supply chain for pharmaceutical products and other manufactured goods.
Biden’s executive order has directed 100-day reviews of supply chains for four critical sets of products: computer chips for items such as cars and phones; large-capacity batteries like those used in electric cars; pharmaceuticals and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).
“Last year in the early months of the pandemic, we saw shortages of masks, gloves, and other critical personal protective equipment (PPE),” an unnamed Biden senior administration official reportedly said. “President Biden committed last year to directing the U.S. to take a comprehensive approach to securing supply chains, and the executive order the president will sign tomorrow afternoon kicks off that process… This is the first whole-of government approach to promoting the resilience of America’s supply chains, from pharmaceuticals to foods,” the official continued. “We’re going to get out of the business of reacting to supply chain crises as they arise, and get into the business of getting ahead of future supply chain problems.”
The Trump Administration’s review of the pharmaceutical industry revealed that 70% of US API producers had moved offshore in recent decades, threatening the supply of a stable supply chain during future pandemics.
Where Trump identified the problem and began policies that pushed for the private sector to onshore pharmaceuticals, Biden is using big government and the power of BARDA to promote the onshoring of critical drugs.
BARDA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, announced May 19 that it awarded a $354 million manufacturing contract to Phlow Corp., a generic drug manufacturing company. The contract aims to shore up a domestic supply source for essential pharmaceuticals, some of which are currently being used to fight the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The four-year contract also includes, as an option, a “long-term sustainability” option of an additional $458 million.
BARDA Acting Director Dr. Gary Disbrow, in a statement, said “collaborating with Phlow and its partners is an important step in expanding our manufacturing of APIS”—active pharmaceutical ingredients—“and critical medicines at-risk of shortage.”