Healthcare News & Insights

Obama takes action on growing drug shortage crisis

The nationwide shortage of key medications is finally getting some attention from the White House. President Obama just issued an executive order intended to eventually end the shortages of vital medications used to treat cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

The order instructs the FDA to increase reporting of potential shortages, fast-track the review of applications to start or change production of shortage-related drugs and give information about potential price gouging or collusion to the Justice Department.

So far a record number of drugs — nearly 200 of them — have been declared in an official shortage. Prices have skyrocketed and some hospitals have reported instances of drug scalping and being offered goods that appeared to have been stolen and/or dangerously mishandled by third-party vendors.

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  1. I practice psychiatry in Dallas, Texas. My patients are currently having trouble getting the standard medication for ADD/ADHD, Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts) from local pharmacies. There is suspicion that the pharmaceutical firm which produces it is squeezing supply of this generically available medication to force increased prescribing of those preparations still under patent, and thus more lucrative. I hope these investigations are given the highest priority as children, adolescents and adults with ADD/ADHD are severely impaired from being able to perform in school, or on the job without this medication. In consideration of other evidence that widespread corporate fraud is the rule these days in the US, I would not be surprised if this suspicion were verified.