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Coronavirus Outbreak Exposes China’s Monopoly on U.S. Drug, Medical Supplies

The coronavirus outbreak has exposed the United States’ dangerous dependence on China for pharmaceutical and medical supplies, including an estimated 97 percent of all antibiotics and 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to produce drugs in the United States.

The economic repercussions of the coronavirus reveal the dangers of allowing one country to have a near monopoly on global manufacturing, David Dayen explains in an article at the American Prospect:

China is a source of not only finished goods, but also of input parts and raw materials. A substantial number of the materials needed for defense and electronic systems come from China, and that nation is “the single or sole supplier for a number of specialty chemicals,” according to a recent Defense Department report. Rare earth minerals, which are critical to electronics, are largely mined in China. As a result, Chinese disruptions don’t just hit Chinese manufacturing, they hit everyone’s. Automakers have already had to slow or shut down factories globally due to supply shortages.

Perhaps the biggest concern is over medical supplies. China produces and exports a large amount of pharmaceuticals to the U.S., including 97 percent of all antibiotics and 80 percent of the active ingredients used to make drugs here. Penicillin, ibuprofen, and aspirin largely come from China. Last month, the medical supply firm Cardinal Health recalled 2.9 million surgical gowns “cross contaminated” at a plant in China; the blood pressure drug valsartan also saw shortages recently, thanks to tainted active ingredients at one Chinese plant. The combination of supply chain disruptions and increased demand at hospitals if coronavirus spreads to the U.S. could prove devastating.

In a dark irony, most of the world’s face masks—now ubiquitous in China as a precaution—are made in China and Taiwan, and even for those made elsewhere, some component parts are Chinese-sourced. Shortages have led China to declare the masks a “strategic resource,” reserving them for medical workers. U.S. hospitals are “critically low” on respiratory masks, according to medical-supply middlemen. Lack of protective gear could increase vulnerability to the virus, and the one place on earth suffering from production shutdowns is the one place where most of the protective gear originates [emphasis added].

https://www.breitbart.com/asia/2020/02/13/coronavirus-outbreak-exposes-chinas-monopoly-on-u-s-drug-medical-supplies/

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https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/02/who-head-we-may-be-at-tip-of-the-iceberg-of-coronavirus.html

Where have we heard this before?

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>>8135471

>>8135523

GM Scrambles to Shield U.S. Truck Plants From Virus Disruption

General Motors Co. is working to maintain flow of parts to some of its most profitable U.S. plants to keep them from becoming the next factories to be idled due to the coronavirus spreading in China.

The automaker doesn’t expect to have to pause production at plants in Michigan, Indiana and Texas, according to David Barnas, a GM spokesman. He was commenting on a letter distributed on social media by a member of the United Auto Workers union’s Local 598, which represents workers making heavy-duty pickups in Flint, Michigan.

General Motors 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD Reveal

Worker inspect pickup truck frames at the GM assembly plant in Flint, Michigan.

Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg

“We continue to monitor our supply chain and are in close communications with our tier-one suppliers to mitigate any risk to production in North America,” Barnas said in an email. “The situation is still quite fluid, but GM, other automakers and suppliers have begun the process of restarting vehicle and parts production in China.” The UAW member’s letter, which said GM’s factories in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Arlington, Texas; and Flint face a growing threat of parts shortages, was first reported earlier Friday by The Detroit Bureau. The plants assemble Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks and full-size sport utility vehicles including the Cadillac Escalade – some of the company’s most lucrative models.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Friday became the latest carmaker to announce that a lack of components sourced from China will disrupt production in other countries, joining companies including Hyundai Motor Co. and Renault SA.

https://www.bloomberg.com//news/articles/2020-02-14/gm-scrambles-to-shield-u-s-truck-plants-from-virus-disruption