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Michael Dautner
February 27, 2020

US Grapples With Reliance On Chinese Medical Supplies

 

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Federal health bureaucrats warned us about the fact that we are facing an unprecedented public health threat from coronavirus. This is ironic because they are responsible for preparing for such issues. America depends heavily on China for medicine, masks and other such equipment. Ideally, America should be self-sufficient when it comes to this, but bad planning has landed American population in this health crisis.

China is currently the biggest supplier of raw materials for the medical industry in America. The current situation can lead to the shortage of medical supplies. The medical industry is not ready to be self-sufficient. Americans are relying on China for life and death medical supplies and with the sudden eruption of coronavirus in China, medical supply manufacturers in America are left with nothing to fall back on. If we take a deeper look into the current situation, America’s entire health care system is highly dependent on China for all sorts of medical supplies. The issue is not just being dependent, American medical supply manufacturers can’t even produce medicines that are so essential such as; drugs to treat lung and breast cancer, the active ingredient for Tamiflu to treat influenza. There are other medical supplies such as implantable defibrillators for heart patients and trivial things such as masks and gloves for health care workers, that the medical industry in America can’t produce.

The coronavirus outbreak in China means that they couldn’t export medical supplies at the rate they used to do. This is going to result in the shortage of medical supplies in American hospitals in the next three months. China is obviously going to prioritize their own health care system more than the United States’.

On January 31st, the American president Donald Trump banned foreigners coming from China and enforce a 14-day quarantine for the Americans returning from China, but this action might be too late. There were many people who entered the US before 31st of January. As of right now, we have no idea of the extent of the problem, but it will be apparent in the coming weeks.

The United States has some sort of stockpile of medical supplies, but if they are enough to deal with this impending crisis, only time will tell. This is a wakeup call for American medical industry to be less dependent on China for medical supplies. Medical supply manufacturers should try and be more self-sufficient so they can avoid complications like these in future.

The US is funding millions of dollars to world health organizations to fight coronavirus, even though China is self-sufficient. This tells us how serious the problem is. Health is something to be taken very seriously, if the US isn’t comfortable with outsourcing their military equipment to China or any other country, why should they outsource medicine? In the future, it is something to be very vigilant about.

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