Legislation introduced today would begin addressing a growing drug shortage “crisis” by requiring the Food and Drug Administration to notify providers of looming medication shortages and coordinate efforts with other drug makers to fill such supply gaps.
The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), mirrors Senate legislation introduced in February by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and called the Preserving Access to Life-Saving Medications Act.
“It's clear that we're facing a crisis that needs to be addressed,” DeGette said at a Tuesday news conference. “The earlier drug suppliers and providers know about a shortage, the earlier they are able to respond to it.”
The House bill came on the same day that two analyses were released illustrating the extent and impacts of drug shortages.
A survey of 820 hospitals by the American Hospital Association found nearly all of them have experienced drug shortages within the past six months, which resulted in many delaying treatment or leaving them unable to provide the recommended treatment for some patients.
A separate survey of 353 hospital pharmacy directors released by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists concluded that drug shortages cost about $216 million annually.
“Shortages cost money at a time we're trying to bring down the cost of healthcare,” Richard Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the AHA, said at the same news conference.