Obama Moves to Address Drug Shortages

Oct 31, 2011 Issues: Health Care

LEWISTON, ME – Today, President Obama issued an executive order charging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take actions that will reduce drug shortages throughout the United States. The President also voiced his support for a bill Congressman Mike Michaud is cosponsoring called the Preserving Access to Lifesaving Medications Act, which would require drug manufacturers to report potential drug shortages or the discontinuation of a product to the FDA in advance. The bill would also require the FDA to report these shortages and discontinuations to patient organizations and health care providers.

“These actions are a step in the right direction, but a comprehensive approach that ensures these important safeguards are in statute is still needed,” said Michaud. “I have spoken with health care providers in Maine about this problem, and I’m committed to working with the White House and my congressional colleagues to ensure that we prevent potentially dangerous drug shortages in the future.”

According to the Obama Administration, the number of reported drug shortages annually has tripled from 61 in 2005 to 178 in 2010. The executive order will direct the FDA and Department of Justice to take action to help further reduce and prevent drug shortages, protect consumers, and prevent price gouging, which would accomplish a number of the goals of bipartisan bills in the House and Senate. A White House fact sheet on the executive order issued today can be found here.