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White House / health care

Obama Orders FDA to Address Drug Shortages

photo of Sophie Quinton
October 31, 2011

President Obama will call on the Food and Drug Administration to address drug shortages in an executive order on Monday, The New York Times reports. The FDA has documented increasing shortages of anesthetics, electrolytes, and cancer drugs.

Obama's order is "a modest effort," The Times noted: It doesn't call for government stockpiles, or government manufacturing of critical drugs. Instead, the order asks the FDA to "broaden reporting of potential shortages of certain prescription drugs; speed reviews of applications to begin or alter production of these drugs; and provide more information to the Justice Department about possible instances of collusion or price gouging," The Times reported.

The order will be Obama's latest move to bypass Congress. Proposals like those included in Monday's executive order have been pending in Congress for over eight months, The Times noted. While signing the order, Obama will also announce his support for pending legislation that would increase reporting requirements for drug makers.

 

The administration will also issue two reports on Monday that point out flaws in the market for certain medicines. "Just five large hospital buying groups purchase nearly 90 percent of the needed medicines, and only seven companies manufacture the vast majority of supply," creating an inflexible market vulnerable to disruption, according to The Times.

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