President Trump has always pushed to put America first; he sees the need for a stable domestic supply chain, and he promised he would work to bring manufacturing home. COVID-19 showed us some real gaps in our pharmaceutical supply chain, and that is why the Trump administration, led by Peter Navarro, searched for an American company capable of onshoring pharmaceutical production. After much deliberation and research, they chose Eastman Kodak to receive a loan to begin this process.
Last week, I published the piece America Needs and Deserves Pharmaceutical Onshoring Today, which emphasizes that just because a few bad actors might have committed misdeeds doesn’t mean an American company and citizens should pay the price. It also points out that aside from the national security benefits, there is a great economic opportunity to bring jobs back to America that have been outsourced to India and China. By 2021, Big Pharma profits for prescription drugs are expected to reach $610 billion, much of it going to high payed CEOs and reinvested in factories overseas. That money should be used to open new factories here in the U.S. providing any opportunity to expedite the economic recovery that many cities around the country so desperately need after the horrible trade practices of the Obama administration.
The Trump administration recognizes this economic reality, but recently, Kodak came under attack by Congressional Democrats and the media for allegedly committing insider trading by granting stock options to certain executives. For weeks, news stories rolled out accusing the company of nefarious dealings and falling back on the same played out attacks on the Trump administration. These attacks forced the DPA to pause awarding the loan pending further review. Kodak took these allegations seriously and hired a firm to conduct an independent investigation into any alleged missteps.
This week, that investigation concluded with a report clearing Kodak of all claims against it.
Not surprisingly, the media got it wrong here; they made assumptions and attacked Eastman Kodak and the Trump administration with a false narrative before any facts were presented. This is a dangerous process that, in this case, had potential to cause great harm to Americans.
Senior Trade Advisor Peter Navarro was right when he told the NY Post, “this will position Kodak as one of the most strategically critical powerhouses in our domestic supply chain. … The Kodak project is a big win for the Defense Production Act, a big win for New York and the nation — and a huge step forward toward US pharmaceutical independence.”
Senator Warren, who I can only imagine got her information from these misleading and inaccurate articles, put out her own statement regarding Kodak where she said, “the loan was awarded to Kodak, through an opaque process and after an extensive and unprecedented lobbying effort, despite the fact that the company had no pharmaceutical manufacturing experience.”
Every point Senator Warren is attempting to make with that statement is completely false and is contradicted with evidence in the independent investigation’s findings. First, the findings go step by step through the loan process – there is nothing opaque about it. Second, Kodak did not use a lobbying firm to acquire this loan; a Kodak employee cold called and emailed to get this process started. Finally, Kodak absolutely has experience in the pharmaceutical space; for the last few years Kodak has been producing unregulated Key Starting Materials, which are the building blocks to make Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients, and Kodak stepped up in a big way to help produce hand sanitizer and ventilators in the wake of COVID-19.
Hopefully all of these facts will be considered during this week’s hearing in front of the financial services subcommittee on investor protection, entrepreneurship, and capital markets, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. Their disdain for President Trump is so great that they would rather ignore cold hard facts than applaud a deal that is good for all Americans.
Special thanks to Will Henderson for his help in writing this article. Will is the managing partner of 2 small businesses in Southern Ohio, and has 23 years combined military service; currently serving in US Navy Reserve. Having served in Expeditionary Warfare for most of his career and most recently with Defense Logistics his experiences both in and out of uniform offer a unique insight on a domestic and international level policies. Will also served as Chairman of the Portsmouth Site Specific Advisory Board for interacting with high level members of the Department of Energy, EPA, members of Congress and various community leaders from around the Nuclear Weapons Complex.