United States President Donald Trump has announced his intentions of making America less reliant on foreign supplies by enabling the country to produce its own essential medicines and equipment.
Focusing on America first
According to the White House, the Trump administration is going to sign a Letter of Interest that will support a deal which would ensure companies in America will produce essential medicines.
The deal would transform Kodak, a technology production company in the United States, into a pharmaceutical company that will help America in its production of medicinal supplies at home.
Once the deal is final, the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO will use his delegated Defense Production Act (DPA) loan authority to support the launch of Kodak Pharmaceuticals with a $765 million loan, resulting in more than 360 job openings.
When the company becomes fully operational, it will have an expected capacity to produce at least 25 percent of the generic active pharmaceutical ingredients that are needed by all non-biologic and non-bacterial pharmaceuticals that the United States uses.
Kodak, in coordination with the US government and several drug product manufacturers, will determine what products are most needed by the national security requirements.
The technology company is preparing to develop several ingredients for use in a number of generic drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug that Trump previously touted as helping him fight against the coronavirus despite experts saying it was unproven and could provide adverse side effects, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Amid the transformation, Jim Continenza, the Chief Executive of Kodak and several US officials said the United States is gearing up to rely less on international products from China and India.
The US International Development Finance Corporation is a government agency that works similarly to a bank. The loan for Kodak is the first of its kind in the history of the DPA. It was previously invoked by Trump's administration to accelerate the production of supplies relating to the coronavirus such as ventilators.
Bringing it all back
On Tuesday during a press conference, Trump announced the loan and called it a breakthrough in bringing back the production of pharmaceutical supplies to the United States. The US president noted Kodak would not only provide pharmaceutical supplies but also provide materials that will be used for several drugs that would be both cost-competitive and safe for the environment.
In May, Trump issued an order that allowed the DFC to support the domestic production of strategic resources financially amid the coronavirus pandemic and so support relevant domestic supply chains.
The loan given to Kodak is similar to a commercial loan, and the company has 25 years to pay it back, said its CEO. Continenza said the company would begin producing starter materials and active pharmaceutical ingredients once the deal is finalized.
Kodak has had a long history in chemical and advanced materials that stretch for more than 100 years. Continenza added the company's current infrastructure would enable it to start operations immediately.