China, Coronavirus and US pharmacueticals

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The Coronavirus has been officially named Covid-19 by the WHO or World Health Organization. According to WHO,

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

It originated in Wuhan, China, though we are uncertain how it started. The Communist Chinese government originally blamed bats and an open food market as the source, but that story has come under increasing scrutiny.

Wuhan is the home of two biological labs, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products. Some speculate that the virus originated in one of these labs.

The virus continues to spread throughout the world and the word “pandemic” is being uttered by experts. An epidemic becomes a pandemic when people who have never traveled to the source location begin to contract the virus from people who have.

As of this writing, there are almost 80,000 confirmed cases of the virus and 2,626 deaths. 25,124 people have recovered from the virus. As of today, the virus has been reported in 34 countries. Follow this website for continuing updates.

The Coronavirus outbreak is deadly and must be dealt with. The outbreak is also shedding light on US dependence on Chinese pharmaceuticals.

China’s domination of the pharmaceutical market

Senator Marsha Blackburn recently wrote an opinion piece titled “The coronavirus outbreak exposes the U.S.’s pharma supply chain vulnerability.

Few Americans are aware of this fact but many of the raw materials used in US pharmaceuticals are sourced in China. 80% of our antibiotics are manufactured in China. The question is, is it safe to rely on China for our antibiotics and raw materials for pharmaceuticals?

In 2007 and 2008, 246 people died as a result of adulterated heparin, a widely used blood thinner. An investigation by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control determined that batches of heparin manufactured in China had been contaminated. The contaminant, which is very cheap, was similar in chemical structure to heparin and was able to go undetected in routine tests.

Rosemary Gibson, author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine and a senior adviser at the Hastings Institute discusses the national security issues of depending on China for important drugs like penicillin, vaccines, antibiotics and the blood thinner, heparin.


US National Security at risk

China has come to dominate the market for raw material for pharmaceuticals by dumping cheap drugs into markets, thereby driving domestic producers out of business.

China started with penicillin and now they are doing it with other drugs. The US manufacturers have all but disappeared and we are now reliant on China for lifesaving drugs like heparin.

Gibson emphasizes that the loss of US pharmaceutical manufacturing is a matter of national security. All sorts of Americans are dependent on pharmaceuticals including our military. Our aircraft carriers in the South China Sea are dependent on the very country they are restraining for vital pharmaceuticals. That fact makes me queasy. How did we let this happen?

Gibson makes the point:

“If you want to destabilize and demoralize a population, withhold medicine from them. You don’t have to hack the internet or fire a missile to take a country down. ”

Read Gibson’s full report and recommendations here.

In the short term, the Coronavirus will spread and more people will die. Financial markets will be rocked as quarantines shut down manufacturing and our pharmeceutical supply chain will be affected. In the long term, we need a secure pharmaceutical industry that is not dependent on China.

Watch Tucker Carlson on the spread of the Coronavirus:

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