WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) today introduced the Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act (SAM-C) to increase American manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), the building blocks of prescription drugs. Currently, only 28% of API-producing facilities are in the United States and the number of Chinese facilities has more than doubled since 2010.

“The coronavirus is a real health emergency and we have to do everything in our power to increase our preparedness and response today, and for the future,” said Sen. Menendez. “This bipartisan proposal will do that by encouraging drug manufacturers to partner with our best minds in higher education on new advancements, creating good jobs and increasing the national production of vaccines and drugs that can save lives. With New Jersey’s leadership in the life sciences industry and institutes of learning, we can lead the way and make a difference.”

“When confronted with a serious challenge such as the corona virus, it is important to take stock, look at lessons learned and build upon them in order to respond better the next time,” said Sen. Blackburn. “Currently, we are too reliant on foreign manufacturing of critical APIs. The SAM-C Act is one step on the right path to strengthen our drug supply chain.”

The coronavirus outbreak has heightened concerns about dependence upon China and India for prescription medications. On February 27, 2020, the FDA announced the shortage of one drug used to treat patients with coronavirus. They attributed the shortage to difficulties obtaining the API from a site in China affected by coronavirus.

Additionally, in its 2019 report to Congress, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission revealed “serious deficiencies in health and safety standards in China’s pharmaceutical sector.”

Dependence upon China and others for prescription drugs combined with safety concerns needs to be addressed. This urgent health event provides an impetus to improve our pharmaceutical supply chain.

The Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act (SAM-C) would:

  • Encourage pharmaceutical drug manufacturers to spur innovations similar to those in other industries such as automotive, aerospace and semiconductors and bring drug manufacturing back to the United States, where ingredients and processes can be more easily verified.
  • Authorize $100 million to develop centers of excellence in advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing in order to develop these innovations as well as train the workforce needed in this industry. These centers will be partnerships between institutes of learning and the private sector.
  • Create an Advanced Manufacturing Technologies unit within the Food and Drug Administration to prioritize issues related to national security and critical drug shortages, as well as bring pharmaceutical manufacturing jobs to the United States.