Americans Access to Life Saving Medicine Relies on Natural Gas 

WASHINGTON – Today, the American Gas Association (AGA) unveiled Advancing America’s Pharmaceuticals: The Value of Natural Gas to U.S. Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, the latest entry in its ongoing Advancing America series. This study reveals that the American pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors could not continue to operate as they do without natural gas and other petrochemicals. The loss of these vital feedstocks and energy sources would cripple the production of vital supplies, make sanitary care vastly harder, and raise the cost of pharmaceuticals for customers. 

“The value natural gas brings to America’s pharmaceutical industry is tremendous,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert. “From the gloves and mask a surgeon wears, to the disinfectants used in hospitals, to the life-saving medicines Americans depend on and the bottles they come in, natural gas and other petrochemical molecules are indispensable.”  

“Without the affordable energy natural gas provides, Americans would see higher costs for medicine and medical treatments, lost jobs, and a weaker medical supply chain,” Harbert concluded.    

Natural gas and other petrochemicals are effectively irreplaceable for manufacturing medicines, with 99% of pharmaceutical feedstocks and reagents derived from natural gas and other petrochemicals. Face masks, disposable gloves and syringes are also manufactured from petrochemical feedstocks like natural gas and are critical to combatting the spread of disease. The amount of these resources needed is staggering – each year, petrochemical feedstocks are used for 129 billion face masks, 300 billion medical gloves, and 979 million American vaccine syringes. Pharmaceutical manufacturing consumes as much natural gas each year as all residential households in Missouri. 

Without natural gas, drugs would cost more to manufacture, increasing the burden faced by Americans who rely on medications. A majority of adults – 86% – agree that lowering out-of-pocket costs for health care should be a top priority for policymakers. Natural gas costs half to a third as much as alternatives like electricity and is projected to remain so through at least 2050. Without natural gas, higher costs and associated economic impacts would cost the U.S. economy approximately $7.22 billion through 2050 alone, surpassing the federal investment in clean hydrogen hubs. The decline in economic activity would also result in the loss of 22,000 job-years.