Dealing with the Chinese Challenge: The Case of the Pharmaceutical Industry

By Robbin Laird and Ed Timperlake

The United States and a number of key allies have begun to focus significant attention on reworking the supply chain in key industries associated with imports from China.

As Dr. Harald Malmgren recently noted: “Much new industrial thinking is under way how the next phase of manufacturing should be structured.

“In this process of reconfiguration US officials are advising companies to seek complex products with high information technology components that have no Chinese content…the economic cold war with China is sparking an entirely new kind of surge in demand for “zero Chinese content.”

In her recent book, China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, and recent testimony before the U.S. China Commission presented on July 31, 2019, Rosemary Gibson focused on one such industry, which needs a serious rethink in terms of supply, namely, the pharmaceutical industry.

This is especially true with regard to generic drugs which are 90 percent of the medicines Americans take.

Her testimony has focused largely on the United States but much of what she has documented in her recent book with Janardan Prasad Singh also applies to our allies as well.

We had a chance to discuss the subject with Ms. Gibson prior to her testimony on the Hill.

In our discussion with her, she clearly focused on China’s strategy that she documented for this sector, which follows the playbook of predatory trade practices common in other strategic industries.

China undercuts Western producers on price as a deliberate strategy for global domination.

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