HHS taps Virginia company to expand USA production of crucial drugs

Supplies of raw ingredients and finished medicines needed to treat patients hospitalised with COVID-19 have been squeezed as demand has soared in the wake of the pandemic

Civica Rx is a nonprofit founded in 2018 by several major hospital systems and health charities to manufacture scarce generic injected drugs - hospital workhorses like pain medicines and antibiotics that for over a decade have been in shortage much of the time, and often are subject to price spikes.

Lawmakers inside and outside of Washington, D.C., have complained that the US has been far too reliant on foreign supply chains as it raced to secure key equipment and drugs in the battle against COVID-19.

To meet the demand for the medicines and drugs, Phlow has partnered with other groups such as Civica Rx, Ampac Fine Chemicals, and the Medicines for All Institute.

The partnership comes amid concerns from Trump administration officials and lawmakers over supply chains spread around the world for critical products, as numerous pharmaceutical ingredients necessary for medications to help treat COVID-19 are now made internationally, specifically in China and India.

The award drew plaudits from Virginia's US senators and representatives, though it could take at least a year or more for Phlow to open its initial plant, apparently slated for Petersburg.

With funds in hand, Phlow immediately delivered to the Strategic National Stockpile more than 1.6 million doses of five essential generic medicines now being used to help mitigate the effects of COVID-19. Shipping ingredients or finished drugs overseas also delays the availability of essential medications during global health emergencies. The total contract value awarded to Phlow is up to $812 million which includes a four-year base award of $354 million with an additional $458 million included as potential options for long-term sustainability.

Establishing advanced biomanufacturing in the U.S.

In an attempt to lessen its dependence on China and India, Trump's administration has awarded a contract amounting to $354 million to the U.S.based and privately-held Phlow Corporation to make COVID-19 drugs, other essential drugs, and their ingredients. "Today we have taken an important step to strengthen our domestic drug production capability and respond to the increased need for medicines to treat COVID-19 patients during the current pandemic". The increasing number of persons being hospitalized due to the new coronavirus and related illnesses has led to the shortages of available medicines and drugs.

Civica Rx is a nonprofit generic pharmaceutical company that will maintain a reserve inventory for numerous drugs produced by the partnership, including vancomycin, ketamine, lidocaine, fentanyl, and morphine. The company is working with Phlow to build an advanced manufacturing capability in Virginia, as well as sterile injectables manufacturing facilities.

The past decades have seen a decline in the manufacturing of generic medicines and drug ingredients in the United States.

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