CBS19: Representatives want information on response to drug shortages


Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including Abigail Spanberger, have sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration concerning drug shortages.

According to a release, health care providers in the United States saw a 27-percent spike in the number of drug shortages in 2018.

It adds, in some cases, these shortages can have potentially life-threatening consequences due to delays in treatment, decreased quality of care, and increased operations costs.

A recent study found U.S. health care providers had to deal with 186 new drug shortages in 2018, which was a 27-percent increase over 2017 and the highest amount of shortages in the previous five years.

In June 2018, the American Medical Association declared a public health crisis due to drug shortages, and the FDA created the Agency Drug Shortages Task Force to look into the cause of them.

That task force was supposed to submit a report to Congress with potential solutions, but the release says this report has not yet been submitted.

“While we appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Food and Drug Administration to prevent these shortages, it is imperative that FDA balance shortage prevention programs with similar efforts to respond expeditiously to new shortages,” stated the letter. “This is especially important givens the number of factors that can contribute to drug shortages, ranging from environmental disasters to issues with manufacturing quality standards. We recognize that many shortages require case-specific solutions, which require the agency to be flexible in its response.”

The letter asks for a quick reply and also requests a date for when the task force’s report will be submitted.

The release says a disruption in the regular supply of drugs, for example, epinephrine, can result in threats to patients, such as substituting treatments with alternative therapies, compromised or delayed medical procedures, and patients rationing prescription drug doses.

To read the full letter, click here.

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