Cotton: 'It's crazy' that we depend on 'an enemy of the United States' for 'basic pharmaceuticals'

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Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic underscores the importance of securing America's medical supply chain and ramping up production of life-saving medicines to end the long-time reliance on the Chinese government.

"The Chinese Communist Party unleashed this plague on the world that turned what could have been a local health problem in Wuhan into a global pandemic," Cotton told "Hannity." Wednesday.

"But," he continued, "that’s exactly what the Chinese Communist Party has always done. It’s dishonest, it’s corrupt, and it’s an enemy of the United States."

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The spread of the virus has highlighted some experts' long-held worries about U.S. "over-reliance" on Chinese pharmaceutical production. America essentially ceased domestic production of penicillin in around 2004 -- a move which was applauded as a way to save money on generic drugs, but has been the source of much concern in recent years.

"It’s one thing to have jobs that make lawn chairs or toy trinkets in China. It’s another thing to make basic pharmaceuticals that we need, like antibiotics or penicillin, buprofen, advil. It’s crazy that we are dependent upon China, a country that at this very moment is still threatening to withhold those critical medical supplies from the United States.," Cotton said.

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"That’s why it has to end and we have to bring the pharmaceutical manufacturing capability back to the United States."

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