Congresswoman Anna Eshoo

Representing the 18th District of California

Eshoo Holds Hearing to Address Broken Global Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

October 30, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) held a hearing to address the inadequacies of the global pharmaceutical supply chain and the broken generic drug industry.

To watch Chairwoman Eshoo’s opening statement, click HERE.

“There is a hidden health care crisis in our country that will affect us all, and we’re not talking about it: the crippling inadequacy of the American drug supply.” Rep. Eshoo said. “I’m issuing a call to action to the FDA, to the pharmaceutical industry, and to my fellow Members of Congress to take this problem seriously and work with me to address it.”

Today, 90 percent of the medications that Americans take are generics because of affordability. But the generic industry faces serious threats affecting American public health and national security. The hearing addressed three major crises in the global pharmaceutical supply chain:

  • Shortages of lifesaving medications – U.S. hospitals are rationing critical drugs. This month, children and their families discovered that they may not be able to get the pediatric cancer drug Vincristine due to a drug shortage.
  • Subpar manufacturing – Contaminated drugs have contributed to drug shortages. This year, there have been recalls of common blood pressure medications because they contain carcinogens. One of the drugs affected, Losartan, is the ninth most commonly used drug in the U.S.
  • Overreliance on foreign production – The U.S. is highly dependent on foreign production of critical medications. China globally dominates the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), gaining a chokehold over the global supply of essential drugs, like penicillin. Beijing could use U.S. dependence for critical drugs as an economic weapon and exploit the health and safety of the American public and our Armed Forces.

The hearing’s expert witnesses included Dr. Janet Woodcock from the Food and Drug Administration, Commissioner Michael Wessel of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Mr. David Gaugh from the Association for Accessible Medicines, and investigatory public health author Ms. Rosemary Gibson.

Congresswoman Eshoo is leading the effort to address threats posed by the global pharmaceutical supply chain, collaborating with Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to address the public health and national security risks.