Federal Database Proposal Aims to Track Supply Chain Vulnerabilities

Bipartisan Bill to Create Federal Database to Monitor Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, has proposed another bipartisan bill to address the vulnerabilities in the US pharmaceutical supply chain, after introducing a similar legislation last month that would have several government agencies conduct a risk assessment. Peters, who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has joined forces with James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, and Mike Braun, R-Indiana, to advance the Mapping America’s Pharmaceutical Supply Act.

The bill would mandate the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a federal database that would track the origin, availability and location of each drug and its manufacturing facilities. It would also map inspections, recalls and import alerts.

With this information, the HHS could evaluate supply chain threats and decide how to address them through investments in domestic manufacturing.

“As we saw firsthand during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal agencies did not have enough visibility into our reliance on foreign manufacturers and other chokepoints in the supply chain, limiting their ability to anticipate and respond to drug shortages and related challenges. This bipartisan legislation will provide the federal government with a more comprehensive understanding of the weaknesses in our pharmaceutical supply chains so we can take steps to address them and prevent future shortages.”

– Senator Peters

Peters has released two reports in the past four years that have highlighted national security concerns from the nation’s overdependence on foreign sources for critical drug products. They have also pointed out the county’s lack of clarity on the supply chain—from the key ingredients needed to make drugs to the distribution of those products.

Last month, Peters and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, introduced the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Risk Assessment Act, which would bring together the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, the White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy and the HHS to develop a plan to investigate weaknesses in the U.S. supply chain and reduce dependence on foreign countries. The FDA’s online drug shortage database shows more than 200 drugs in short supply. The American Society of Health System Pharmacists list shows more than 900 shortages of drugs and doses, with the numbers increasing over the past decade and shortages also lasting longer than before, according to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine cited in a March 2023 letter from lawmakers to the FDA.

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