(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has awarded a $354 million contract to U.S.-based Phlow Corp to manufacture drugs being tested or used to fight the new coronavirus as well as some medicines that are in shortage.
The four-year contract, with an additional $458 million included as potential options, is a move by the administration to reduce the country’s dependency on foreign nations to support its drug supply chain.
Virginia-based Phlow Corp said it had started making pharmaceutical ingredients and finished dosage forms for over a dozen essential medicines to treat hospitalized patients with COVID-19-related illnesses.
Many of these medicines are in shortage and have previously been imported from other countries, the private company said in a statement. India and China account for a vast majority of active pharmaceutical ingredients used to make drugs in the United States.
“For far too long, we’ve relied on foreign manufacturing and supply chains for our most important medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients while placing America’s health, safety, and national security at grave risk,” Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, said in a statement.
The funding immediately enabled Phlow to deliver to the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile over 1.6 million doses of five essential generic medicines used to treat COVID-19 patients, it said.
Phlow will partner with private sector entities that include Civica Rx, Ampac Fine Chemicals and the Medicines for All Institute to manufacture the medicines.
All pharmaceutical products by Phlow will be made in the United States, according to the company’s website.
The private company said it was also building the United States’ long-term, national stockpile to secure key ingredients used to manufacture the most essential medicines on U.S. soil.
(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Saumya Sibi Joseph in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)