Carter sponsors bill to ensure ready stockpiles of generic drugs

To ensure that all Americans have access to generic drugs that are at risk of shortage, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) on Jan. 20 reintroduced a bipartisan bill to ensure substantial stockpiles exist.

Rep. Carter sponsored the Essential Medicines Strategic Stockpile Act of 2022, H.R. 405, with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) to also reduce the nation’s dependence on China for pharmaceuticals, according to a bill summary provided by his office. 

“COVID-19 made it abundantly clear that the United States cannot rely on China for the safety and security of our drug supply chain,” Rep. Carter said. “When a parent goes to the store and sees an empty shelf where amoxicillin should be, the emergency stockpile of essential medicines is no longer an idea, it’s a life-saving measure.”

If enacted, H.R. 405 would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a list of 50 generic medications that are essential in public health emergencies, the summary says.

“This step will strengthen our nation’s health, security, and emergency response readiness,” said Rep. Carter.

The bill, which has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, was first introduced during the previous session of Congress by Reps. Carter and Blunt Rochester in April 2021. However, the same-named H.R. 2870 stalled in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, prompting its reintroduction by the lawmakers last week. 

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