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Kodak Reborn From the Ashes, Bets on COVID-19 Medicines

By MBN Staff | Wed, 07/29/2020 - 05:00

After filing for bankruptcy in 2012 as it failed to adapt to digital photography, Kodak saw the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to rise from the ashes. The New York-based multinational company won a loan from the US government to manufacture ingredients that will be used in generic drugs to combat COVID-19, the Financial Times reported yesterday.

Donald Trump’s government announced the extension of a US$765 million loan to Kodak, as the US tries to expand domestic manufacturing through medical supply chains to reduce dependence on foreign countries, especially China.

Kodak will produce both starting materials and active pharmaceutical ingredients, said in an interview with Fox Business White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro. "If we have learned anything from the pandemic, it is that Americans are dangerously dependent on foreign supply chains for their essential medicines," he pointed out. “This is not about China or India or any one country. It is about America losing its pharmaceutical supply chains to the sweatshops, pollution havens and tax havens around the world that cheat America out of its pharmaceutical independence,” he added.

The loan will be granted by the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) under the Defense Production Act, which Donald Trump has invoked to buy N95 masks and accelerate the manufacture of ventilators. Last May, the president issued an executive order in May authorizing the DFC to make loans or purchases that would strengthen America's manufacturing capabilities in its fight against COVID-19. The DFC noted that the Kodak project would mark the first step in compliance with that order. 

The Food and Drug Administration estimates that about 80 percent of active pharmaceutical ingredients are manufactured outside the country. Many generic medications were in short supply before the pandemic but during the height of the crisis, many hospitals struggled to obtain medications, including sedatives and anesthetics vital to patients on respirators.

Kodak said this new pharmaceutical business will create 360 direct and 1,200 indirect jobs. "By leveraging our vast infrastructure, our deep experience in chemical manufacturing and our heritage of innovation and quality, Kodak will play a critical role in the return of a reliable American pharmaceutical supply chain," said the company's chief executive, Jim Continenza, in a statement.

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