Our pharmaceutical trade policy needs surgical mask protection

Search Amazon today for face masks, and the product will be unavailable, dramatically marked up, and/or shipping from China.  In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, masks are an essential component of the equipment medical professionals need but one that some hospital systems are also struggling to procure.  If they were widely available, face masks could help Americans reduce the risk of infection as well, since one of the main infection pathways is through breathing the virus in, and masks substantially reduce exposure. One of the reasons why masks have been in short supply in the U.S. is inevitable: any time there is a major pandemic involving a respiratory infection, there will be mask shortages.  Part of it also involves decisions about trade policy that have systematically made the U.S. more vulnerable to political, economic, and health shocks. Twenty years ago, most medical masks used in the U.S. were produced in the U.S., about 95...(Read Full Post)
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