Perhaps the Covid-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to the hidden truth. Perhaps we have discovered our biggest insecurity. Perhaps we have found some loopholes. Pharmaceutical companies in the United States have found moving offshore attractive. This is a tactic that was devised to tackle and minimize the amount spent as a company. When such companies go offshore, they usually find labor at a lower cost. This indeed is enough bait to lure them out of the country.
The result of this migration can be seen on our streets. The Coronavirus pandemic made it crystal clear that we have lost major industries in this sector. Pharmaceutical products used in the States are mainly imported from China with others from India. Even if you pinpoint some of these products that were made in the US, you will soon discover that the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) used in their production were imported. It doesn’t end there. Most inactive ingredients also come from abroad. Now, if you understand the rate at which we rely on the imported pharmaceutical product, you will understand that this poses a great danger to the nation as a whole, and it is one big insecurity that could lead to great danger and which have led already during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, As These Industries Went Offshore Do They Achieve Their Goal Of Minimizing The Cost Of Production?
Despite leaving the country as a whole and causing a serious health risk, you could say these pharmaceutical industries still didn’t achieve their goal. They could indeed get lower labor costs offshore, but did you put productivity in check? The lower the labor cost, the lower productivity. This was how it went for these industries. What a medium-cost labor worker would do in the States required two low-cost workers offshore. Now, this alone is enough to make the cost of production offshore equivalent to that found in the states. With that being said, adding other costs like shipping, legal documents, protecting intellectual properties and processing approval from several regulatory agencies such as the well-known FDA would increase the cost of production. Using simple statistics all this added together actually leads to an increase in the cost of production.
The time to bring our pharmaceutical industry home is now. We cannot continue to risk the lives of millions of people. We have the resources, we have a ‘ready site’ and that is Puerto Rico.
Why Puerto Rico?
You could say Puerto Rico and ‘Pharmaceutical’ are synonymous. These types of industries have been in existence in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. There was once a vibrant pharmaceutical manufacturing and packaging in Puerto Rico. We still have the infrastructure and the skilled workers to get our pharma production company up and alive again. For over three decades, antibiotics and other drugs have been manufactured in Puerto Rico before the industry moved offshore.
In 1976, Section 936 was passed by Congress giving manufacturing companies in Puerto Rico a favorable tax treatment. This indeed led to massive growth in the manufacturing industry. The pharmaceutical manufacturing industry wasn’t left out. There were over 140 pharmaceutical manufacturing plants present at that time. But then in 2006, Section 936 expired and these companies too left since the tax break was no more. Luckily, not all these manufacturing industries moved to Puerto Rico as a result of Section 936. These companies remained on the island even after the tax breaks were over.
Well, during the times when manufacturing in Puerto Rico was vibrant, a powerful workforce was established. This includes personnel in several fields ranging from managerial roles to scientists, contractors, suppliers, and even low-level operators. Apart from the powerful workforce available, Puerto Rico also has the infrastructure ready. Presently, they are many top pharmaceutical companies in Puerto Rico. Section 936 is gone, but these companies wax strong. Still, we need to bring back the once vibrant pharmaceutical industry in Puerto Rico. The resources are available for these companies to come back. We need our pharmaceutical industry to be back in the sky with hundreds of companies manufacturing, packaging, and distributing.
It is time for the pharmaceutical industry to return home where it belongs. It is time to revive the pharmaceutical industry in the states. It is time to fix the biggest insecurity we have as a country.