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Carter, Blunt Rochester Introduce Legislation to Create Essential Medicines Strategic Stockpile

Representatives Earl L. "Buddy" Carter (R-Ga.) and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-De.) today introduced legislation to establish an essential medicines strategic stockpile. 

"At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, we quickly realized how reliant our medical supply chain is on foreign countries like China and India," said Carter. "This reliance creates both public health and security risks for the American people. For example, as the COVID-19 virus spread around the world earlier this year, India withheld 26 essential drugs from exportation, vastly limiting supply and access to other countries. Americans should not have to rely on other countries for access to the most basic medicines like acetaminophen, penicillin, and amoxicillin. This legislation ensures that Americans have a constant stockpile of essential medicines that can be deployed to any part of the country at a moment's notice."

“As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, one of our greatest public health challenges is ensuring that patients have reliable access to essential generic medicines," said Blunt Rochester. "I’m proud to join Congressman Carter in introducing critical legislation that will ensure Americans have sustained access to their medications during national emergencies.”

The Essential Medicines Strategic Stockpile Act of 2020 establishes a three year pilot program that creates public-private partnerships to stockpile generic medications that are at risk of experiencing shortages. During the pilot program, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will work with stakeholders and other government agencies to establish a list of 50 generic medications that are essential in public health emergencies. Medical product distributers can then contract with HHS to stockpile the medications within their own supply chains. These entities will be required to continuously cycle the additional product through their supply chain to avoid any expiration issues while maintaining a 6-moth supply of the product that the federal government can access at any moment.