Kendall Qualls Launches a Plan to “End America’s Reliance on Chinese Manufactured Pharmaceuticals”

“The United States must end its reliance on Chinese manufactured pharmaceuticals, the latest example of our overdependence on China." - Kendall Qualls


Congressional candidate Kendall Qualls just launched a plan to end the production of important pharmaceuticals in China. Qualls is running in the 3rd Congressional District and—assuming Qualls wins the nomination—will run as a Republican come November against incumbent Democrat Dean Phillips.

The issue of America’s reliance on pharmaceuticals and personal protective equipment (PPE) made in China has been a growing concern. America relies on Chinese production for the vast majority of its antibiotics, and China has cut supplies of PPE to the United States during the coronavirus crisis. Not only that, China lied to the world about the coronavirus when it was first spreading in Wuhan, China, wasting precious time that the world had to respond to the virus. China’s ability to exert control over the World Health Organization (WHO)—to the point where the WHO helped China shape its false narrative about the virus and its origins—has only added to these concerns.

In, response, the Qualls campaign launched its plan.

Per the plan. “The United States must end its reliance on Chinese manufactured pharmaceuticals, the latest example of our overdependence on China. Our continued dependence on China for pharmaceuticals and medical supplies threatens our public health and undermines our national security. The coronavirus pandemic has specifically highlighted the extent of our reliance on Chinese manufactured pharmaceuticals and the immediate need for realigning our supply chain in this life-saving industry.

Qualls’ statement goes on to outline how China controls too much of America’s drug supply, including “97% of the U.S. market for antibiotics.” Qualls called this a “threat to public health,” and noted that Chinese drug manufacturers have routinely faked data related to safety.

Next, Qualls notes that the current set-up is a threat to U.S. national security. The candidate correctly cites an example where a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official threatened to cut off antibiotics supplies to the U.S., over U.S. criticism of Chinese trade practices and expansion in the South China Sea.

Qualls then calls for 5 policy changes:

1) “Invest in domestic manufacturing to ensure the production and safety of essential medicines and medical supplies. This includes antibiotics, generic drugs, vitamins, masks, gloves, gowns, ventilators, and face shields.”

2) “Test, monitor, and track all imported pharmaceutical ingredients.”

3) “Mandate the FDA to compile a list of all pharmaceuticals produced in China, identify pharmaceuticals of critical importance, and determine alternative sources of supply.”

4) “Institute a country of origin label on all pharmaceuticals.”

5) “Direct China to ensure the safety and efficacy of their pharmaceutical products and, unless done to our satisfaction, prevent further importation of such products.”

According to an analysis by Alpha News, Qualls’ likely opponent, Dean Phillips, has so-far not announced a plan to bring critical medical production back into the United States. Phillips did take to Twitter, however, to criticize President Trump’s decision to review America’s funding of the WHO. The White House is considering cutting WHO funding off, due to what many say is improper Chinese control over an organization largely funded by the United States.

Willis Krumholz

Willis L. Krumholz is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He holds a JD and MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas, and works in the financial services industry. The views expressed are those of the author only. You can follow Willis on Twitter @WillKrumholz.