President Trump will sign an executive order on Thursday that seeks to return production of medicine and medical supplies to the US.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the order is “pure Trump” because it requires agencies to buy American products, streamlines regulations and seeks to promote high-tech innovation to lower drug costs.
“If we’ve learned anything from the China virus pandemic, it is simply that we’re dangerously over-dependent on foreign nations for essential medicines and for medical supplies like masks gloves and goggles — and medical equipment like ventilators,” Navarro told reporters.
Trump is expected to sign the order during a visit to Ohio on Thursday.
Trump and Navarro, a prominent China hawk in the White House, teased for months some action to return medical supply chains to the US from countries such as China.
Navarro said other countries have an unfair advantage because they are either polluters, tax havens or use sweat shops.
“A key part of this process will be for the FDA to actually identify the list of essential medicines and countermeasures and critical inputs covered. The World Health Organization, aka the colony of China, by the way, has a list of essential medicines that numbers more than 400, but some of these medicines we don’t really need here,” Navarro said.
The FDA and Environmental Protection Agency will be ordered to streamline regulations to boost manufacturing.
“The FDA can walk in any pharmaceutical manufacturer in the US unannounced … that’s not gonna happen anymore,” Navarro said.
Navarro said “this is the only way America will succeed going forward” and bristled at a reporter’s suggestion that returning drug manufacturing to the US would boost consumer costs. Another Trump priority is to lower drug prices.
“Repeat the question and try to do it in a less cynical way if you can,” Navarro instructed.