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Gov. McMaster Announces Economic Development Initiative to Expand Recruitment of Pharmaceutical Companies, Shore Up Emergency Supply Chains

April 1, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today issued Executive Order 2021-17, which directs the Department of Commerce to enhance recruitment efforts of pharmaceutical and medical supply manufacturers in South Carolina and directs state agencies to focus procurement efforts of medicines, medical devices, and medical supplies on those made in South Carolina. The new initiative will safeguard South Carolina from supply chain disruptions experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic by working to manufacture even more essential, life-saving products in South Carolina.

“This last year has made it very clear that relying on China for life-saving medical supplies is a risk we can no longer afford, and South Carolina can lead the way when it comes to bringing the manufacturing of those products back home to the United States," said Gov. Henry McMaster. “By successfully recruiting pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies to invest and locate here, we will bring good, high-paying jobs for our people and reliable access to the critical supplies we may need in an emergency.”

The Department of Commerce will work directly with SCBIO on the new initiative. SC BIO is a statewide, not-for-profit life sciences and economic development organization formed to promote and expand South Carolina’s life sciences industry.

“As a major driver and diversification of South Carolina’s growing economy, the surging impact, reach and significance of the multi-billion dollar life sciences industry in our state certainly warrants the strategic emphasis being placed on it by Governor McMaster,” noted SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros. “We’re honored by the Governor‘s  profound support, and this bold Executive Order further demonstrates his ongoing commitment to empower our statewide mission to build, advance and grow the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry in the Palmetto State like never before.”

To further investment and job creation from businesses in the pharmaceutical industry, the governor’s Order directs the South Carolina Department of Commerce to:

  • Prioritize and enhance ongoing economic development and recruitment efforts by identifying, encouraging, and incentivizing pharmaceutical and medical supply manufacturers, both international and domestic, to locate research, development, and production facilities within the State of South Carolina.
  • Develop and execute international and domestic marketing campaigns that promote the State of South Carolina as a global leader in this Sector.
  • Facilitate, assist, and incentivize growth, expansion, investment, and employment opportunities at existing businesses and industries in the Sector located within the State of South Carolina.
  • Identify and advocate for statutory or regulatory changes or enhancements to the state’s existing economic development mechanisms for new business and industry investment or expansion in the Sector.

The Order also directs the Department of Commerce to review its existing operations and organizational structure to determine whether any changes would assist with the recruitment of pharmaceutical companies and to recommend any needed modifications to the General Assembly, if statutory authority is required to make them.

To further ensure supply chain security, the governor’s Order calls upon state agencies to prioritize South Carolina-made products in the procurement of medicines, medical devices, and medical supplies. The move will benefit existing businesses and will give Commerce another resource to attract additional life science investment into South Carolina.

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