AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Right now, the United States is dependent on manufacturing facilities outside of the country for production of nearly 70 percent of the drugs used here. City of Amarillo Business leaders plan to redirect pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the U.S. with Amarillo at the forefront.
“It neutralizes the security threat," said CEO of The Fairly Group Alex Fairly. "They have a lot of leverage right now in the fact that they control all these drugs, and we just need to remove that leverage and make sure there’s some areas that we just can’t be dependent on China on. Our pharmaceutical manufacturing is absolutely one of those areas.”
Eric MacLaughlin, Professor and Department Chair for Pharmacy Practice for Texas Tech, says this move is critical because of the controversy which comes with depending on China for our drug manufacturing.
“Being in the pharmacy world, we’re significantly impacted from a patient care standpoint on inability to get medications, medication shortages and often times, the quality of the medication," MacLaughlin said.
Fairly says, not only will this solve a national crisis concerning the pharmaceutical industry, but it could also be a major boost for Amarillo’s economy.
“It’s going to bring jobs," Fairly said. "We have a vision of an area of town where there’s a lot of manufacturing going on, maybe from a lot of companies. Plain and simple, that’s going to mean jobs.”
This task force is backed by all of Amarillo’s health science resources including West Texas A&M University, Amarillo College, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and the Texas Tech School of Veterinarian Medicine.
MacLaughlin says his students are already being prepared for drug manufacturing, and should this project come to fruition, Amarillo will be ready.
“Within our department specifically, we have some people with years of experience in pharmaceutical manufacturing, and in the other department as well. We have folks that we’ve recruited that are from the industry, so having their expertise now, in a pandemic, and seeing how we can implement that for training and education and future workforce," MacLaughlin said.
Fairly says there are still many steps that need to happen, including raising enough money to conduct the relocation, but he says everyone is on board and ready to put in the work to make this happen.