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The coronavirus pandemic has created issues for U.S. businesses that are "beyond the means of any individual company to deal with," but the producers and distributors of needed items like food and cleaning products are resilient, Goker Aydin of Johns Hopkins Carey Business School said.
"In supply chain management, it is crucial to diversify your source of supplies so that when one supplier is impacted, you can turn to the other," Aydin, who teaches operations management, said in an interview. "But what is happening now is beyond the means of any individual company to deal with."
There is not a true shortage of consumer packaged goods in the U.S. even if grocery store shelves are sometimes empty, he said. One area to watch instead may be the prescription drug supply chain, since China is a major supplier of raw materials for those drugs and India produces generic drugs.
Medical staff shows packets of a Nivaquine, tablets containing chloroquine and Plaqueril, tablets containing hydroxychloroquine, drugs that have shown signs of effectiveness against coronavirus. (Photo by GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images)
"The shutdown in China and the recent lock-down in India may have an impact on the kinds of prescription drugs we see in this country and throughout the world," Aydin said. "Two colleagues at the University of Michigan recently wrote in an article that even in the best of times, the U.S. drug supply chain is fragile. And we are not in the best of times."
In addition, India banned the export of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that is being tested as a coronavirus treatment, after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted its ban on importing the drug from India in March.
Aykin's remarks come as FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn pushes for more domestic drug manufacturing.
"This is a long-term solution, but we absolutely must address the issue of redundancy in our manufacturing," Hahn said on "Sunday Morning Futures." "We must absolutely make an effort to have domestic manufacturing as well. … We cannot be dependent upon any single country and we need what's called redundancy in our manufacturing."