Obama issues executive order to address drug shortages

Order directs FDA to boost reporting, action on shortages

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama issued an executive order Monday to address the growing problem of drug shortages.

The order directs the Food and Drug Administration "to take action to help further reduce and prevent drug shortages, protect consumers, and prevent price gouging." Specifically, the FDA is directed to broaden reporting of potential shortages of certain prescription drugs and expand efforts to expedite review of new manufacturing sites, suppliers and manufacturing changes. The order also directs the FDA to work with the Department of Justice to find out whether wholesalers and other companies have responded to potential shortages by illegally hoarding medications or raising prices.

Other actions include plans by the administration to send a letter to drug manufacturers encouraging them to report discontinuation of certain drugs to the FDA and notify the agency of potential prescription drug shortages. It will also increase staffing resources for the FDA's Drug Shortages Program.

"We applaud the president's initiative in issuing this executive order and believe that through continued multi-stakeholder collaboration, we can put a stop to this problem," GPhA president and CEO Ralph Neas said. "No patient should ever be denied treatment because the needed medicine is in short supply."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., recently introduced legislation that would require disclosure of all prescription drug shortages and give the FDA new authority to enforce those requirements.

***This story updates the story posted Monday morning titled "Report: Obama to sign executive order to address drug shortages."

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