Sen. Marco Rubio calls for decreased dependence on foreign pharmaceutical production

by | Nov 29, 2022

  • Sen. Marco Rubio publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with the United States’ reliance on international pharmaceutical production and development
  • In an op-ed piece, Rubio lambasted the shortage of amoxicillin currently plaguing healthcare facilities following a rise in the spread of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)
  • Rubio states that by 2019, 80 percent of the medical industry’s active pharmaceutical ingredients for drugs like amoxicillin came from overseas
  • Rubio introduced a legislative proposal in 2020 that would provide financial incentives to encourage the relocation of medical and pharmaceutical productions to the U.S., though the bill gained little traction 

Sen. Marco Rubio on Monday penned an op-ed piece for Newsweek calling for a decreased national dependency on foreign pharmaceutical production, claiming that the nation is “once again in the midst of an epidemic.”

Rubio highlights the spread of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in children and related bacterial infections this fall that set off a shortage of the antibiotic amoxicillin, stating that relying on foreign nations to provide medications is setting the American people up to be vulnerable during the next viral outbreak.

“We need to bring pharmaceutical manufacturing back to America, and every moment that we stand idle puts millions of people in jeopardy,” wrote Rubio.

In 2019 Rubio spoke out against moving drug production overseas despite lowered labor costs and increased corporate profits, pointing out that it came with the cost of becoming reliant on nations.

By 2019, 80 percent of the medical industry’s active pharmaceutical ingredients for drugs like amoxicillin came from overseas, with a majority of ingredients traceable to countries like China.

To combat this trend, Rubio reintroduced his Medical Manufacturing, Economic Development, and Sustainability (MMEDS) Act in 2020. The bill intends to introduce financial incentives to encourage the relocation of medical and pharmaceutical productions to the U.S.

The bill, however, fell on deaf ears and died in the legislative process.

“Passing the MMEDS Act should have been common sense,” says Rubio. “But instead of becoming law, the bill has languished. And now, as RSV sweeps across the country, recent history is repeating itself. It’s been almost three years since COVID first reached our shores––our leaders no longer have the excuse of inexperience with medical emergencies.”

Rubio’s stance is opposite that of recent efforts undertaken by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who made drug importation a priority in 2019, with lawmakers approving a plan to make imported drugs available in government programs such as Medicaid and the Department of Children and Families.

Through importation, primarily from Canada, the price of prescription medications would decrease.

DeSantis alleged that the federal government intentionally stalled the proposal to import prescription drugs and failed to comply with a public records request relating to its inquiry.

In a document filed by the Justice Department in federal court on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal government denied it was protecting the interests of pharmaceutical companies. Florida’s proposal was submitted in November 2020, but the Biden Administration said there’s no statutory deadline for authorization that the federal government has missed.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys filed a 27-page document that pushed back against a lawsuit the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration filed in August to try to spur a decision on the importation proposal and to obtain a series of records.

Of note, however, Agency for Health Care Administration Deputy Chief of Staff Brock Juarez told The Capitolist that Rubio submitted a letter in support of the importation plan on Nov. 2nd.


  1. Dixon

    Importing from Canada is nothing like dependency on China for pharmaceutical production. Your headline is just trying to establish a conflict between the Senator and the Governor. Technically true perhaps but misleading.

    • Gort

      The drugs are manufactured in China in either case. Canada regulates the prices their pharma can charge, so importing from Canada averts the Big Pharma cabal in the USA.


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