President Barack Obama will sign an executive order today instructing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reduce the current drug shortage problem.
According to the Washington Post, the FDA will receive a three-step approach from the order: expanding reports of potential drug shortages, advancing application reviews to change production of drugs facing potential shortages and improving communication with the Justice Department about either possible collusion or price gouging.
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The shortages have harmed patients, including occurrences of death, and increased the likelihood of price gouging. Other problems have included surgery and cancer treatment delays, emergency medicine treatment problems and hospitals purchasing drugs at increased prices from secondary suppliers.
The shortages have come from either quality or manufacturing problems, or supplier delays for components.
Also on today’s docket is an announcement by Obama supporting House and Senate legislation requiring FDA notification by drug makers six months in advance of a potential drug shortage. Currently, these companies must notify the FDA if a medically-necessary drug will be discontinued.
This executive order falls in line with Obama’s campaign to implement initiatives without the requisite congressional approval.