Jun 28 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Tom Carper (D-DE) recently introduced the Medical Supply Chain Resiliency Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide the United States with greater ability to engage in trade negotiations in order to ensure that critical medical goods and services are delivered safely, swiftly, and efficiently to patients in the United States and around the world.  

The COVID-19 pandemic presented significant challenges for supply chains around the world, which disproportionately hampered health care providers’ access to medical devices, treatments, and equipment at a time when these products were desperately needed. By expanding U.S. engagement with our allies across the globe, this legislation would combat shortages of medical products and supplies by strengthening supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against future health crises. 

“The pandemic caused major disruptions across nearly all supply chains, and these challenges disproportionately impacted our health care supply chain – from medical devices to life-saving medicines to personal protective equipment (PPE). Now is the time to address the long-standing shortcomings in our supply chains that were highlighted over the pandemic, repair the damage done, and ensure America is adequately prepared for future national security and public health threats,” said Senator Tillis. “This legislation will result in a more resilient, strategic supply chain to safeguard American’s access to critically-important medical products.” 

“The pandemic wreaked havoc on our communities and caused our medical supply chains to break down during the worst possible time. We must prevent these same horrible losses from happening again by working together to fix our broken supply chains and better prepare for future public health emergencies,” said Senator Carper. “This bipartisan legislation will help mitigate trade challenges by authorizing the President to work more closely with our global partners and take action to ensure that health care providers and patients can access life-saving medical products when they need them the most.”

What health care and business industry leaders are saying about the Medical Supply Chain Resiliency Act:

Michael J. Alkire, Premier, Inc. President and CEO:

“Premier applauds Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) for their bipartisan leadership to heed the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and help strengthen our nation’s healthcare supply chain. A more sustainable, resilient, and secure healthcare supply chain requires greater diversification, including investment in domestic manufacturing coupled with strategic trade relationships to encourage nearshoring. The Medical Supply Chain Resiliency Act is an essential piece of legislation that would permit the establishment of trusted trade partners to diversify sourcing for medical devices and pharmaceuticals and enable timely access to the vital supplies providers need to care for patients during a public health crisis or national security threat.”

Dave Pacitti, President and Head of the Americas, Siemens Healthineers:

“Siemens Healthineers supports the Trusted Partners in Medical Supply Chains Act introduced by Senator Tillis. We are confident that this bipartisan framework will strengthen health care supply chains in the US by effectively opening doors to trusted traders across the globe. Supply chain resilience is a foundational pillar on which uninterrupted, quality patient care is built.”

Trade Alliance for Health:

“The Trade Alliance for Health, which includes Pfizer, UPS, and other health care related companies, applauds Senator Carper (D-DE), Senator Tillis (R-NC), Representative Michelle Steel (R-CA), and Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL) for introducing the Medical Supply Chain Resiliency Act, legislation that will help create strong supply chains for medical goods and services between the United States and key allies and partners around the world.  This is critical to improving medical supply chain resilience, bolstering U.S. national security and public health, and better preparing the United States for the next pandemic… The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the dire need to collaborate with our allies and trading partners in this area and we strongly encourage Congress to act on this legislation as soon as possible.  This will help ensure that critical medical goods and services are delivered safely, swiftly, and efficiently to patients in America and around the world.” 

National Association of Manufacturers:

“The NAM appreciates the work of Senator Carper and Senator Tillis on trade. Manufacturers support approaches that will open market access, increase supply chain diversification through more trade with friends and allies, reduce regulatory hurdles and strengthen IP protections.”

John Murphy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for International Policy:

“The Chamber strongly supports the Medical Supply Chain Resilience Act, which will strengthen supply chains for medical goods and services while bolstering manufacturing in the U.S. and among our close allies and partners. Enhancing the resilience of medical supply chains is important to both our public health and our national security.

“The bill would direct the U.S. Trade Representative to negotiate trade agreements with trusted allies to eliminate tariffs and other trade barriers that weaken the U.S. medical goods manufacturing base and that of our allies. These agreements would also support intellectual property protection, regulatory cooperation, and collaboration on public and private R&D efforts. Only close allies and partners would qualify for such agreements. Close consultation with the legislative branch would be essential, and Congress would retain a right to disapprove any agreements.

“This is practical legislation that, if enacted, will apply lessons learned in the Covid-19 pandemic to strengthen America’s health preparedness. The Chamber urges Congress to pass it into law.”

Tiffany Smith, National Foreign Trade Council Vice President for Global Trade Policy:

“The Medical Supply Chain Resiliency Act is an excellent example of the creative approaches needed to reinforce and ensure the security of supply chains for medical goods and services for the United States and key allies and partners around the world.

“By charging the United States Trade Representative with negotiating new agreements with trusted trade partners, this legislation cements the role of trade negotiations at the heart of improving medical supply chain security and supporting U.S. innovation and job creation.

“NFTC applauds Senators Carper and Tillis and Representatives Steel and Schneider for their vision and urges swift passage of this legislation so that the United States and its Trusted Partners can better prepare to meet the public health demands of our populations and rise to meet the challenges of the next global health emergency.”