July 20 — MORGANTOWN – Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, D-Monongalia, seeks federal assistance to keep the Viatris Morgantown pharmaceutical plant open.
Following the winning playbook by U.S. Representative Diana Harshbarger, R-Tenn., She wrote a letter to the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) requesting that the plant be designated as the critical infrastructure necessary to maintain the national security.
Harshbarger wrote to the CISA earlier this year to request that an American Antibiotics Initiative plant in Bristol, Tenn., Retain its status as a critical infrastructure after the pandemic, as it is the only key facility in hand for the repatriation of penicillin production and therefore represents an essential national asset.
CISA responded to him on February 4, assuring him that the plant would retain its status.
Fleischauer’s letter is modeled on Harshbarger’s but is specific to the Morgantown plant.
She opens by saying that the COVID pandemic has exposed the country’s supply chain and gaps in domestic manufacturing. “In particular, the pandemic has taught us that over-reliance on foreign-supplied raw materials and foreign manufacturing in the pharmaceutical industry is a weakness that threatens our public health and national security.”
She reminds CISA Director Jen Easterly that President Biden recognized the importance of domestic pharmaceutical materials and manufacturing in a February executive order, and that the pharmaceutical industry is one of 16 assets in the industry. vital infrastructure.
It includes a brief history of the Mylan Factory – as it was called before the creation of Viatris and as the sign on the front still indicates – and says, “The brilliant light that Mylan has brought to our community is fades. “
After asking him that the factory along with its standard operating procedures, various drug applications and licenses, and intellectual property all be designated as critical infrastructure.
“The closure of this cutting edge American pharmaceutical facility,” she writes, “will be a devastating blow to our community, but more importantly, it would reverse the president’s intention to avoid outsourcing of American jobs. She notes that employees have been approved for Federal Trade Adjustment Assistance, verifying that their jobs have been outsourced (to India and Australia and possibly China, according to previous reports in The Dominion Post).
“The closure of the Viatris plant in Morgantown, West Virginia, actively undermines our national security and public health interests,” writes Fleischauer.
Along with Easterly, Fleischauer copied the letter to the senses Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, Rep. David McKinley, Governor Jim Justice, Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch, and a number of local lawmakers and officials.
Fleischauer told the Dominion Post, “With all the news regarding the contamination of drugs made in China and India, as well as the inability of the FDA to conduct unannounced inspections as is done in this country, this shouldn’t be. a partisan issue. I have asked my colleagues who represent this city, county and state at all levels to communicate their support for this designation of Mylan as critical infrastructure. Hopefully they will add their voices and communicate with Director Easterly. “
United Steelworkers Local 8-957 brought Harshbarger’s letter to the Dominion Post’s attention in June, and we subsequently asked Manchin and Capito if they had considered or tried this solution. Neither of them gave a direct answer on this specific point.
The link between Bristol and Morgantown is David Argyle, an entrepreneur from Toronto, Canada, who was placed by chance to help save the Bristol plant after it was shut down by an Indian generic pharmaceutical company that allegedly focused on cost savings and profit over quality. .
Representing and assisting the new owner, who won it at auction, he worked with the community and government leaders who rallied to revive the factory under its new US-based owners. “Everyone stood up and did the right thing,” he said.
“The reason only American companies could bid,” Argyle said, “is because we got CISA accreditation.” This prevented foreign ownership. “American pharma must be controlled from start to finish by American companies, made in America.”
Citing Biden’s interest in protecting the US pharmaceutical industry, he said, “I don’t understand how Viatris… is able to ship jobs overseas when the executive supply chain order is 180 degrees in the other direction. “
Argyle said a colleague of his shared an article with him about the Morgantown plant shutdown. “I said, ‘This is crazy.’ So he reached out to Steelworkers Local 8-957 to share his successful experience in Bristol, and he has now helped Fleischauer write his letter.
CISA accreditation, Argyle said, would prevent Viatris from sending not only work, but also plant equipment, procedures and drug licenses overseas.
Viatris could keep the plant open, he said. “If they can’t do it, then don’t take the opportunity for another American band to come and save them.”
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