In a letter to President Trump and the Congressional leadership on March 18, the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) expressed its view on potential policy changes that would require increased production of pharmaceuticals and medical products within the United States for national security reasons.
The issue has made headlines in recent days because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Chairman José Carrión said the Oversight Board strongly believes Puerto Rico can be a center of excellence within the nation and play a leading role in the national portfolio of locations where this manufacturing relocates. The physical infrastructure, human capital and regulatory process are already established and well-positioned.
The letter states in part:
"Puerto Rico has long been a major center for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing. According to the FDA, 8% of pharmaceutical expenditures by Americans are for products manufactured in Puerto Rico. The sector has been a mainstay of the Puerto Rican economy for decades. There is a well-developed ecosystem of highly skilled employees who have the technical skills needed to work in a highly regulated and safety-oriented operating environment. Puerto Rico is also fully within the customs territory of the United States, and manufacturing is subject to FDA and other federal agency oversight.
"The Oversight Board was established by law to create the conditions for fiscal responsibility in Puerto Rico and restore access to capital markets. One element of this mandate has been to take opportunities to support the Government of Puerto Rico in its efforts to pursue prudent actions to promote economic stability and create the conditions for growth.
"In this context, if federal policymakers consider actions to require increased manufacturing within the United States, the Oversight Board strongly believes that Puerto Rico can be a center of excellence within the nation and play a leading role in the national portfolio of locations where this manufacturing re-locates. The physical infrastructure, human capital, and regulatory processes are already established and well positioned."