Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) will introduce a bill addressing the U.S.’s dependence on China for medical supplies, said Daily Caller.

As the severe situation of the coronavirus epidemic poses a huge challenge to China’s medical industry and spreads quickly to other countries, Hawley stressed the importance of legislation that enables America to protect itself.

“The coronavirus outbreak in China has highlighted severe and longstanding weaknesses in our medical supply chain. This is more than unfortunate; it’s a danger to public health. Our health officials need to know the extent of our reliance on Chinese production so they can take all necessary action to protect Americans.”

Scott Gottlieb, a physician and the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner in the Trump administration shared to what extent the United States is reliant on China for pharmaceutical and medical supplies in testimony before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs in mid-February, reported Breibart.

His reports indicated that 97 percent of all antibiotics and 80 percent of the active ingredients used to make drugs for the United States are sourced from China. Moreover, Wuhan, the epicenter of coronavirus is also the center for the manufacture of pharmaceutical ingredients.

In the letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, Hawley said,“The degree to which some of our own manufacturers rely on China to produce lifesaving and life-sustaining medications is inexcusable.”

His new legislation seeks to “better secure our supply chain and ensure that Americans have uninterrupted access to lifesaving drugs and medical devices.” Domestic manufacturers are required to report imminent or forecasted shortages of lifesaving or life-sustaining medical devices to the FDA.

On Wednesday night, President Donald Trump held a press conference to discuss how the United States will deal with the disease, which he deemed as not posing a big risk to the United States. Vice President Mike Pence was appointed to take charge of the task force. 

Trump’s administration has requested $2.5 billion from Congress for emergency supplemental funds to combat COVID-19.