China is targeting America's biomed industry
By U.S. Senator Marco RubioSeptember 21, 2019
Time after time, Americans have watched our nation's leaders-in politics, academia and the private sector-invest in and open our markets to China with little concern for long-term consequences. When it comes to the threat China poses to the U.S. healthcare industry, we cannot afford to be complacent.
While consumers may have initially welcomed the influx of inexpensive Chinese goods, such as generic drugs and antibiotics, the ultimate price is paid by U.S. manufacturers, who are undercut by China's cheap labor and forced to shutter. Beijing will continue to undermine America's withering industries by blatantly stealing our companies' intellectual property and subsidizing state firms to undercut our competitive edge.
China's goal is market dominance.…If we fail to prevent Chinese genomic dominance, how might the future look? Our dependence on Beijing for antibiotics and other drugs, recently flagged by the Pentagon, is instructive. The Chinese have used their command in the pharmaceutical industry as a bargaining chip in tariff negotiations. As the sole makers of some of our military's drugs, they wield an additional source of leverage in the case of future conflict.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first step is to stop digging. We must immediately enact stricter guidelines for federal policies to guarantee that public funding never contributes to Chinese genomics efforts and then ensure our R&D in this critical area is not eclipsed by China. I have written to HHS' OIG to voice concerns and submitted several National Defense Authorization Act amendments to this end. I am also developing a unified strategy to protect Americans' genomic data. Beijing blocks its citizens' DNA from being shared or stored outside China because they know the data's value. Why don't we consider similar measures to prevent others from benefiting from Americans' DNA?
Chinese domination of the genomics industry poses an extraordinary danger to Americans; medical professionals, healthcare executives and policymakers alike must recognize the extent of the threat. Failure to do so will put our nation's well-being at risk.
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