May 26, 2021
Manchin Questions Dr. Fauci And NIH Director On West Virginia Related Health Issues
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 Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States, and Dr. Francis Collins, Director of National Institute of Health (NIH), during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education hearing.
Senator Manchin questioned Dr. Fauci on the importance of manufacturing essential medicines in the United States to address America’s dependency on global supply chains for vital medicines.
Senator Manchin said in part, “My first question goes to Dr. Fauci. The Food and Drug Administration reports that nearly 40% of finished drugs and roughly 80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients are manufactured abroad. During the COVID-19 pandemic we saw factories shut down in order to prevent spread of the virus, drug-supply chains disrupted, and drug shortages increased. As a result, Americans’ access to essential medicines was really put in jeopardy. Dr. Fauci, as the preeminent infectious disease doctor you know better than anyone how important it is to have access to essential medicines. Doctor, can you comment on the importance of a strong domestic supply chain for essential medicines and how can we ensure we don’t experience future drug shortages when global supply chains are disrupted?…We need to start manufacturing again, not just our drugs but so many things in our country. I look forward to your support on that.”
Senator Manchin then questioned Dr. Collins on NIH efforts to improve health outcomes in West Virginia.
Senator Manchin continued, “Dr. Collins, West Virginia is consistently ranked last in the nation for health outcomes. In 2020, the America’s Health Rankings Report ranked my state of West Virginia 50th for premature deaths, frequent mental distress, and multiple chronic conditions. We also rank last in life expectancy. What is the NIH doing to bridge this gap in health outcomes and how do you ensure that the medical research that you do benefits people in poor, rural communities?”
Senator Manchin highlighted the drug epidemic in West Virginia, as well as the HIV/AIDS outbreak in the state. He questioned Dr. Fauci on NIH efforts to increase testing and surveillance efforts for infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Senator Manchin continued, “Dr. Fauci, you know my home state of West Virginia is battling an epidemic during the middle of a pandemic. We’ve been devastated by the drug epidemic, COVID-19, and we now lead the nation in new HIV infection rates. You have spent much of your career focused on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of HIV/AIDS. And your research has been instrumental in saving countless lives in the United States and around the world. Doctor, what is being done to replicate testing and surveillance efforts we saw put into place for COVID-19 for other infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS? And what public health infrastructure would be required to bring better infectious disease testing and surveillance to fruition?”
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 in West Virginia can be found here.
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