The Chinese coronavirus outbreak is becoming more and more worrisome with each passing day. The number of known cases is rapidly increasing and new records are being set. There were over 14,000 new cases reported over the course of one day in the Hubei province alone. This is not a great sign.
Most experts believe that things are going to get much worse before they have a chance to get better. The numbers definitely bear that out. As the world watches more and more closely, the United States finds itself wondering what comes next. Our nation’s health security is now in question.
So how can the Chinese coronavirus end up having a profound effect on the US? The answer is a simple one: the nation is very dependent on Chinese medicines in order to survive. The chemicals that are required to create the nation’s prescription drugs are largely controlled by China.
As a matter of fact, America depends on China for at least 80 percent of these commonly used core components. This how generic medicines are created and these are the medicines that the vast majority of America has to rely upon. China is currently being locked down as a means of controlling the coronavirus outbreak. It’s fair to wonder where that leaves us in this scenario.
Drug shortage and lack of access to prescriptions are just a couple of the issues that are sure to keep Americans awake at night. Luckily, the United States has been able to avoid the problems that would be caused by a full-scale outbreak. However, that does not mean that the United States is fully out of the woods when it comes to the spread of this virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus is expected to gain a foothold here before too long. If such an event takes place, Americans are going to be forced to rely upon medicines that have been sourced directly from China. It does not take rocket science to see how that could possibly become problematic.
If you or a loved one relies on a sedative that is made from fentanyl and propofol? You are going to be hoping that this coronavirus outbreak does not cause a shortage. These medicines are often relied upon by those who have been placed on ventilation machines to assist them with the breathing process.
This is not the only example that we have to report, either. Do you rely on medication to treat shock that is made up of epinephrine and dopamine? If so, you are currently relying on Chinese medications. Sepsis infections are also treated with medicines that are sourced from the Chinese. The core components that are used are just that not that easy to come by on this side of the pond.
Predicting a shortage of this nature is easy enough but that does not mean that the problem is going to be solved that quickly. If our drug supply lines end up being severed as the result of the coronavirus, America does not have a backup plan in place. This is disconcerting and we wish that a Plan B had been enacted before now.
Drug shortages like this one are usually easy enough to prevent, as long as you are engaging in the proper planning. Generic medicines have been treated in the wrong manner. Instead of being hailed for the assistance that they have to offer, they are treated like cheap commodities.
Anyone who was in favor of generic medicine manufacturing outsourcing is probably kicking themselves right now. This is the sort of mistake that is sure to have long term ripple effects. Risk management plans need to be developed that pinpoint the choke points in the supply management chains. Alternative sources must also be identified, in case disruptions occur.
Chinese manufacturers will need to let agencies know about potential disruptions as well. The FDA’s current plan leaves a lot to be desired. At the moment, we are essentially relying on Chinese assistance when medical emergencies take place. Call us crazy but that does not actually seem tenable.
Hopefully, a new plan can be put into place before it is too late. China does not have the best generic medication quality and the United States should not be placing our safety in their hands. This is the time for the country to make the sort of strategic choice that will allow us to prosper over the long haul. No more Chinese dependence! If we continue down this path, there is no telling what might happen.