As the result of a longtime push among S.C. officials for reshoring the medical supply chain, Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order he said will strengthen the Commerce Department's efforts to recruit and foster life science industry in the state.
The executive order, announced today at Greenville's Bausch & Lomb manufacturing facility, follows a year of supply chain breakdowns, McMaster and Sen. Lindsey Graham said, exacerbated by the fact that 90% of personal protective equipment used in the United States was made in China at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, while 72% of all medical compounds were imported.
The international trade woes created by a cargo ship lodged across the Suez Canal this week further intensified the urgency to bring medical supply chains back to South Carolina shores.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly illustrated why no single nation or state, no nation like China or others should be the sole source or have a monopoly on the production of essential medicines or supplies like personal protective equipment or others," McMaster said. "Because essential goods and products were and still are disproportionately manufactured outside of our country in countries like China and in other states, South Carolina and other states were forced to compete against one another for limited domestic supplies of personal protective equipment."
The executive order directs the Commerce Department to prioritize economic development projects and recruitment efforts targeting pharmaceutical and medical supply manufacturers, develop marketing campaigns to promote South Carolina as a life science leader and enhance the expansion and investment at existing medical industries in the state.
The order also directs the Commerce Department to review its existing operations and structure to determine what kind of changes may assist with the recruitment of pharmaceutical companies and to recommend these modifications to the General...