Suppose we ran out of antibiotics? Suppose penicillin suddenly disappeared from our pharmacies and hospitals? Suppose the pain suppressants we use for headaches and arthritis, blood pressure medications, and drugs used to treat everything from Alzheimer’s to depression were suddenly no longer available?
In a September 19, 2019 report from NBC News, Rosemary Gibson, author of China Rx, flatly stated, “If China shut the door on exports of medicines and their key ingredients and raw material, U.S. hospitals and military hospitals and clinics would cease to function within months, if not days.”
In the same report, Retired Brigadier General John Adams backed up Gibson’s claims. “Basically we’ve outsourced our entire industry to China. This is a strategic vulnerability.”
Some government officials in the NBC report worried that China might blackmail the U.S. by threatening to withhold pharmaceuticals. Others feared that China might tamper with the drugs we currently receive from these manufacturers. In the near past, several scandals have erupted over the physical damage and even death suffered by patients through the importation of shoddy drugs.
At the end of the article, Gibson noted that the U.S. should resume making its pharmaceutical drugs at home.
And now? Given the coronavirus, are we too late? Even if the U.S. manages to escape the virus itself, what if the Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturers, their factories slowed by quarantines, are unable to produce enough drugs for consumption here in America and in other places around the globe?
Tim Morrison, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, wrote this grim observation in a recent article for NBC News:
“Everything from antibiotics to chemotherapy drugs, from antidepressants to Alzheimer’s medications to treatments for HIV/AIDS, are frequently produced by Chinese manufacturers. What’s more, the most effective breathing masks and the bulk of other personal protective equipment — key to containing the spread of coronavirus and protecting health care workers — and even the basic syringe are largely made in China. The basic building blocks of U.S. health care are now under Xi’s control.”
We’re in trouble.
The loss of these huge swatches of our pharmaceutical industry occurred because of globalism, because of the desire for cheap labor and corporate greed, and because the Chinese Communist Party deliberately set out to become the world’s pharmacy. But it’s too late in the present crisis to point accusatory fingers.
What can we as individuals do to prepare for a possible disastrous drop in our medical supplies?
Epidemic reporter Laurie Garrett offers these practical tips and others for combatting all viruses in an Epoch Times video “Coronavirus in China”:
- Stock up on paper towels and disinfectant sprays. If the coronavirus breaks out in the U.S., you will need these items. Wipe down whatever you touch – door knobs, cell phones – before another person touches it. Above all, in case of a viral outbreak, even in the case of ordinary flu, do not share hand towels with family members. This is a sure way to pass along a virus.
- Cough into your armpit, never your hand.
- After a certain time – some say as low as four hours – face masks lose their efficacy. As we breathe into them, we moisturize the materials, in turn loosening the fibers and so allowing viruses to enter through the gaps.
- Wash your hands frequently with warm water for at least as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
Some of us may disagree with Garrett at the end of this video when she contends that it looks “racist at root” if we bar Chinese travellers from the U.S. The coronavirus has nothing to do with race. If you were visiting my neighbors down the street who were suspected of being infected by this virus, and you then wished to visit me, I would bar the door, no matter your race, gender, religion, or anything else. That’s just plain old common sense.
Whatever the outcome of the coronavirus epidemic, maybe this is our wakeup call to return pharmaceutical manufacturing to the U.S.
In the meantime, God help the Chinese.
God help us all.
[Image Credit: Pixabay]
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.