What about Deglobalizing the Health?

Is it possible that the current epidemic was needed to make European rulers understand that one cannot depend on a distant and problematic country like China to supplying essential medicines? The synthesis of Chinese raw materials then depends on India and, only after processing in this country, 80% of the medicines used in the world reach the pharmacies of the Old Continent.

Maybe the profits of the factories’ relocation of unessential goods, such as cars, clothing, mobile phones and computers, are not enough. But we risk endangering public health.

Before 1989, the manufacturing sites of the active ingredients were very close to the factories of the pharmaceutical companies, and very often they belonged to them. Because of the improving globalization, everything has changed. From that date, until 2006, the pharmaceutical industry in developed countries imported active ingredients from Asia.

That Eastern area had a highly competitive price compared to the past. After the 2007 crisis, profits decreased significantly, from 40% to 20%, coinciding with the collapse of the GDP growth of the aforementioned countries.

This situation has led to the delocalization of processes as much as possible – up to 80% – in order to avoid a traumatic drop in profits. On the occasion of the Tsunami in Japan (2011), as many as 50 production sites in this sector were forced to close for a limited period of time. It cannot, therefore, be said that the danger had not been warned. However, experts today assure that, since stocks exist for three months, supplies in Europe should not be affected by the difficulties that Chinese producers are facing.

The problem of importing drugs from the East to Europe and the United States does not only concern possible dysfunctions in production and distribution. The health authorities of the Western countries have determined through targeted inspections that China, and India in some cases, do not comply with those hygiene standards and those standardized procedures that ensure the total harmlessness of the final product. Letters and recommendations have been addressed to manufacturers in the hope that planetary health will be preserved by all means.