Bill Would Ensure Nation is Better Prepared to Address Future Public Health Crises
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, James Lankford (R-OK), and Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced bipartisan legislation that would help the federal government better prepare for future public health threats by creating a database to map vulnerabilities in the pharmaceutical supply chain. The database would include the country of origin, quantity and other key information about critical drug products to identify supply chain weaknesses that could lead to shortages or other challenges in a future public health emergency.
The legislation builds on recommendations from two reports released by Peters in 2019 and 2023 that identified national security concerns related to our nation’s overdependence on foreign sources for critical drug products and insufficient visibilityinto U.S. pharmaceutical supply chains. Peters’ 2023 report found that both industry and the federal government lack visibility into the entire pharmaceutical supply chain – from the key ingredients needed to make drugs to the distribution of those products, presenting both health and national security risks.The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many of these longstanding challenges, and a 2022 Peters report examining the federal pandemic response found that federal agencies struggled to obtain needed supply chain data in critical early months that could have informed federal actions to mitigate shortages.
“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,” said Senator Peters. “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.”
“US dependence on pharmaceutical drugs and products from other countries, like communist China, is a major concern for our national security,” said Senator Lankford. “China can cut off supplies at their will, as we saw during the first months of the COVID pandemic when China withheld PPE from OK healthcare providers and families. We should have transparency and diversity in our pharma supply chain so we are never vulnerable to a communist nation for our healthcare needs.”
“This bill will shed light on the weaknesses in our pharmaceutical supply chains and allow us to make better informed decisions to address vulnerabilities in our drug supply chain,” said Senator Braun
The Mapping America’s Pharmaceutical Supply (MAPS) Act would require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a federal database to map the origin of each drug, the location of the facilities used to manufacture them, and associated inspections and risks, such as recalls and import alerts. HHS will use this information to make data-driven decisions on supply chain threats and how to increase resiliency through strategic investments in domestic manufacturing. The bill also requires HHS to report to Congress on how they are using the database to predict and prevent vulnerabilities for critical drug supply chains and what gaps in data remain.
The bill is supported by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association, the American Hospital Association, United States Pharmacopeia, and CivicaRx. Below are quotes in support of the senators’ legislation:
“ASHP strongly supports the MAPS Act. By requiring the Department of Health and Human services to coordinate with other agencies and the private sector to map the pharmaceutical supply chain, threats to the U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain can be identified and addressed before they place patients at risk,” said Tom Kraus, vice president of ASHP government relations.
“To date, efforts to map the pharmaceutical supply chain have fallen short, resulting in harm to patients who cannot receive needed treatments that are in shortage. The MAPS Act would provide the necessary tools to enhance visibility for critical drugs,” said Everett E. Vokes, MD, FASCO, Board Chair of the Association for Clinical Oncology. “We applaud Senators Peters, Lankford and Braun for their dedication to improving access to life-saving cancer drugs.”
“Hospitals strive to deliver the right care to every patient, every time. However, drug shortages make this extremely difficult, as hospitals manage multiple shortages every day,” said Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association. “We are very appreciative of Senator Gary Peters for his work to strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chain and to address factors that lead to drug shortages to help make sure patients can receive the best medication and care when they need it.”