Schakowsky, Warren to Introduce Legislation to Publicly Manufacture Personal Protective Equipment, Prescription Drugs, Other Medical

April 30, 2020
Press Release

Bill Text | One-Pager 

Washington, DC - Today, Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Chair of the Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee and United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, introduced the COVID-19 Emergency Manufacturing Act to publicly manufacture personal protective equipment, prescription drugs, and other medical supplies necessary to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation authorizes the federal government to manufacture medical products, including by contracting with existing manufacturers, to ensure the nation has an adequate supply of critical materials to avoid rationing during this unprecedented crisis. It will also help the nation begin to prepare for the approval of a COVID-19 vaccine by dramatically increasing our capacity for development and distribution 

In 2018, Representative Schakowsky and Senator Warren introduced the Affordable Drug Manufacturing Act to radically reduce drug prices through public manufacturing of prescription drugs and re-introduced it in 2019. The COVID-19 Emergency Manufacturing Act of 2020 builds off of the lawmakers' original public manufacturing bill to ensure that the federal government harnesses its full manufacturing, contracting, and coordinating capacity during the pandemic. 

The legislation builds on an existing model in which the federal government contracts with private manufacturers to produce drugs critical to national security, and for which there is often a limited or non-existent commercial market. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for health care workers, long-term care residents, and families across the United States. Yet President Trump has no plan to scale up the production of personal protective equipment, prescription drugs, and medical supplies we need to survive this crisis," said Congresswoman Schakowsky. "Our COVID-19 Emergency Manufacturing Act will ensure we're not held hostage by the private sector or the ill-prepared Trump Administration. We must include this bill in the next relief package so that the United States can rapidly develop these critical supplies and be ready to ramp up our pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity when a vaccine is discovered."

"We need to radically increase our supply of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to attack the coronavirus crisis head-on. We have an Administration that is failing to lead and failing to ensure health care providers and patients have the resources they need," said Senator Warren. "Our bill will rapidly produce the equipment and supplies Americans are counting on. The president won't act, but Congress should. Our bill needs to be included in the next relief package."

The COVID-19 Emergency Manufacturing Act will:  

  • Establish an Emergency Office of Manufacturing for Public Health to ensure an adequate supply of drugs, devices, biological products, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and other supplies necessary to diagnose, mitigate, and treat COVID-19 and to address shortages in products used to treat non-COVID conditions and illnesses.
  • Require the Office to manufacture, or enter into contracts to manufacture, COVID-19 products and other critical drugs and medical devices in shortage. The Office will be required to provide COVID-19 products at no cost to federal, state, local, and tribal health programs and to sell COVID-19 products at cost to international and other commercial entities. The Office will be required to sell the additional products it manufactures at a transparent and reasonable price to domestic and international entities.
  • Direct the Office to begin manufacturing, or enter into contracts to manufacture, PPE, diagnostic test materials, COVID-19 treatment drugs within one month of the Act's passage. The Office will prioritize production of items that have most impact on public health and the economy, that address shortages, and that alleviate demographic disparities in COVID-19.
  • Direct the Office to begin constructing, or enter into contracts to construct, vaccine and therapeutic manufacturing facilities to ensure the immediate production, at-scale, of COVID-19 vaccines when such vaccines become available.
  • Provide transparency into the Office's activities by mandating Inspector General reviews of all of the Office's contracts, requiring periodic reports to Congress, and forcing the Office to publicly post its prices for COVID-19 and other products as well as any licensing agreements.  

The COVID-19 Emergency Manufacturing Act of 2020 has been endorsed by Public Citizen, Center for American Progress, Social Security Works, Indivisible, Center for Medicare Advocacy, American Federation of Teachers, Knowledge Ecology International, Action Center on Race and the Economy, MomsRising, Families USA, People's Action, Voices for Progress, Treatment Action Group, Consumer Action, UNITE HERE!, Progressive Democrats of America, National Women's Health Network, Coalition on Human Needs, Labor Campaign for Single Payer, Health Care for America Now, PrEP4All, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Lower Drug Prices Now, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, National Adult Day Services Association, National Association of Social Workers, National Association for Home Care and Hospice, National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, American Medical Students Association, Democracy Collaborative, Main Street Alliance Action Fund, Center for Popular Democracy Action, Faith in Healthcare, Oxfam America, Doctors for America.

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