President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that the administration is set to finalize a deal with Kodak to transform it into a pharmaceutical company to produce generic active pharmaceutical ingredients, helping to reduce the reliance on other countries for critical generic drugs.
The federal government is expected to provide the photography company with $765 million to support the launch of Kodak Pharmaceuticals, which will be able to produce 25 percent of generic active pharmaceutical ingredients in the country once fully operational, the White House announced. The loan will go toward supporting startup costs needed to repurpose and expand Kodak’s existing facilities in Rochester, New York, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Kodak Pharmaceuticals will make critical pharmaceutical ingredients that have been identified as essential but have lapsed into chronic national shortage, as defined by the Food and Drug Administration. The company will work with the administration and drug product manufacturers to identify products that are most needed to meet national security requirements.
The deal marks Trump’s 33rd use of the Defense Production Act.
“Kodak will now produce generic active pharmaceutical ingredients, which is a big deal,” Trump announced at a White House press conference on Tuesday. “Using advanced manufacturing techniques, Kodak will also make the key starting materials that are the building blocks for many drugs in a manner that is both cost-competitive and environmentally safe. We’ll be competitive with almost all countries, and soon with all countries.”
Directly, the deal will create at least 360 jobs at Kodak’s factory in Rochester in the initial phase of the deal, Trump said. He praised the deal as “a breakthrough in bringing pharmaceutical manufacturing back to the United States.”
The United States consumes about 40 percent of the world’s supply of active ingredients needed to make generic drugs, but only produces 10 percent of the ingredients, according to the U.S. International Development Finance Corp.
Trump noted that while 90 percent of all prescriptions in the United States are for generic drugs, more than 50 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients needed to make these generic drugs are made in India and China.
Trump said that restoring American manufacturing is a “core matter of national security” and that this idea has become ever clearer since the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus spread to the country.
“We must never be reliant on a foreign nation for America’s medical or other needs, and that includes many other needs,” Trump said.
“If we have learned anything from the global pandemic, it is that Americans are dangerously dependent on foreign supply chains for their essential medicines,” White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said in a statement. He added that the partnership is “a huge step forward towards American pharmaceutical independence.”
The president said that the administration has, via the DPA and other authorities, invested more than $3 billion in the United States’ industrial base, engaging in contracts with various companies to produce ventilators, N95 masks, gloves, gowns, and tests for the CCP virus.
“This is just the beginning. In the coming months, we will continue the largest onshoring campaign in American history. We will bring back our jobs, and we will make America the world’s premier medical manufacturer and supplier. That’s what’s happening already. It’s been happening now for quite some time,” Trump said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.