The United States is dependent on other nations for a wide range of pharmaceutical products, including generic prescription drugs, which are also called active pharmaceutical ingredients.

And now we must stop relying on other countries to roll out generic drugs, according to Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

In the United States, generic drugs make up 90% of all prescriptions, while 87% of those active pharmaceutical ingredients used in the generic drugs are made overseas, wrote Brown in a column for Sidney Daily News.

“That’s why I’m introducing the bipartisan Promoting Readiness and Ensuring Proper Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient Reserves of Essential Medicines Act – better known as the PREPARE Act – with Republican Senator Bill Cassidy from Louisiana,” Brown wrote. “It would create an emergency, domestic supply of key ingredients used in essential generic medicines.”

“This bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services [HHS] to maintain a list of essential generic medicines, and to build out a domestic supply of the critical ingredients needed to manufacture them,” he added. “It would create a new position at HHS, the Director of the Strategic Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients Reserve, specifically tasked with assembling and overseeing that stockpile.”

The bill would also prioritize domestic manufacturing of these ingredients, so the United States can build a more resilient supply chain.

“There is no reason we should be relying on countries like China or India for nearly 90% of these critical pharmaceutical ingredients,” Brown explained, “when we have talented scientists and manufacturers here in the U.S., including here in Ohio.”

He said there are drug companies, such as Xellia Pharmaceuticals in Bedford, Ohio, which are producing generic drugs in the United States, and they are also supporting the bill.

Brown wrote, “We need to learn the lessons of COVD-19 and make sure we are better prepared for future health emergencies, so we can keep Americans safe and healthy.” The article was originally published online Monday on Sidney Daily News.