May 19, 2021
Manchin Questions CDC Director On Drug Epidemic In West Virginia, American Manufacturing Of Critical Medicines
Video of Senator Manchin’s questions during Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education hearing can be found here
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, questioned Center for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and Principal Deputy CDC Director Dr. Anne Schuchat during the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education hearing on the annual budget for the CDC.
On Monday, Senator Manchin spoke with Dr. Walensky about his priorities for the CDC, including the importance and urgency of addressing the drug epidemic in West Virginia. During today’s hearing, Senator Manchin asked Dr. Walensky again about the CDC’s efforts to combat the drug epidemic.
Senator Manchin said in part, “Dr. Walensky, as you are aware we are facing an epidemic within a pandemic. West Virginia is ground zero for the drug epidemic, with the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country. To make matters worse, 2020 was the worst year yet with over 90,000 deaths. We saw at least a 47% increase in the state of West Virginia with overdose deaths. What resources is the CDC providing to states to combat the epidemic…What is the CDC working on to help increase testing for viral hepatitis and HIV? We’ve had a tremendous, horrendous situation with that in my home state.”
Senator Manchin also questioned Dr. Walensky on the need to manufacture critical medicines in the United States instead of depending on international supply chains for vital medications.
“We produce very little of the things that we need for medicine – do you think penicillin should be produced in America? Do you think doxycycline should be produced, and other antibiotics in America? And if so, what should we do in order to do that or stockpile strategically for our own protection… We should be producing these in America. We need to have something from a professional like yourself to get back to producing things in America not depending on foreign supply chains,” Senator Manchin continued.
A video of Senator Manchin’s questions during Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education hearing can be found here.
A timeline of Senator Manchin’s efforts to address the drug epidemic can be found here.
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