The United States’ heavy reliance on China for prescription drugs is becoming a national security concern. The concern is that China could weaponize its drugs industry to squeeze the United States, much like its media and officials have threatened to do with rare earth minerals, as both countries face-off in an increasingly fraught trade war.

China has a plan to restrict the export of rare earths to the U.S. if the trade war gets deeper, Bloomberg reported recently. These minerals are vital for the electronics industry and for making artificial magnets, which have many industrial uses.

Rosemary Gibson, the author of ‘ChinaRx -- Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine’ told Fox Business that the US was too dependent on China for medication. Gibson bluntly said that China’s aim is to disrupt, dominate and displace American companies and harm its ability to make its own medicines.

“In five to ten years we were at risk of losing our generic drug industry because China will use the same playbook and undercut our own producers and drive them out of business,” Gibson said.

The author sounded the alarm bell because China is threatening to weaponize its dominance in mining rare earth minerals against the U.S., amid the ongoing trade war. Moreover, retired Brig. Gen. John Adams told FOX News that China would not hesitate to consider weaponizing its dominance of the pharmaceuticals market.

Gibson reiterated that China’s aim is to "become the global pharmacy" to the world. “It wants to disrupt, to dominate and displace American and other Western companies.”

Medicines Pharmaceutical tablets and capsules in foil strips are arranged on a table in this picture illustration taken in Ljubljana on Sept.18, 2013. Photo: Reuters/Srdjan Zivulovic

According to a report by McKinsey, China’s pharmaceutical market is the second largest in the world, after that of the United States. Li Chen, the CEO of Hua Medicine and former chief scientific officer and head of research at the Roche R&D Centre in China, told McKinsey that over the past few years, China’s pharmaceutical R&D has picked up speed. Li explained that some leading Chinese pharma companies, that historically focused on generics, have started building capabilities and making investments in innovative drugs.

Frank Jiang, the CEO of CStone Pharmaceuticals, said the reforms brought in by the regulatory changes are going to catalyze the pharmaceutical industry in China. Jiang said local pharma companies are turning toward innovation. “We have seen rapid growth of new drugs in the pipeline; for example the number of applications of local innovative drugs entering clinical trials in China has grown from 21 in 2011 to 88 in 2016, a compound annual growth rate of 33 per cent," he said.

Meanwhile, the US is also concerned about China taking over the generic drugs industry. Currently, India is the leader but experts say that China provides about 80 percent of its raw ingredients to the Indian industry. And these generic drugs are sourced back to America’s military troops and veterans.