Meijer unveils bipartisan bill to bolster DOD’s pharmaceutical supply chain

U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) on Jan. 12 introduced bipartisan legislation that would implement a report by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) recommending that the United States government strengthen DOD’s pharmaceutical supply chain and reduce dependence on foreign producers.

“We cannot continue our foreign dependence on critical, lifesaving drugs and I am proud to help lead the effort to reduce this dependency,” Rep. Meijer said last week.

The Strengthening Supply Chains for Servicemembers and Security Act, H.R. 6374, which Rep. Meijer cosponsored alongside bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), is the companion bill to the same-named S. 3174, introduced in November 2021 by U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The proposed bill responds to the September 2021 DOD Inspector General report by codifying its six recommendations to address DOD supply chain weaknesses, such as that the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment develop and issue implementing guidance for DOD supply chain risk management for DOD material, which includes pharmaceuticals.

Another report recommendation is that the director of the Defense Health Agency develop and publish implementing guidance for supply chain risk management specifically for pharmaceuticals, and create a chartered work group to assess risks to the pharmaceutical supply chain, according to a report summary provided by Rep. Meijer’s office. 

“Our country’s significant supply chain vulnerabilities have been exposed during the COVID-19 crisis, and they continue to be problematic,” said Rep. Meijer. “The Department of Defense Inspector General provided clear recommendations to combat the weaknesses specifically in our pharmaceutical supply chain, and our bill will put these policies into action.”