House GOP presses for answers on US drug shortages

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GOP members of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee on Friday sent a letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf asking for documents and a staff-level briefing on his agency’s role in mitigating drug shortages.


Almost 130 drugs are currently in short supply, according to the FDA, including generic cancer medicines, stimulants like Adderall and antibiotics like amoxicillin. 

“The FDA is failing to ensure vitally important pharmaceuticals remain on pharmacy shelves,” the GOP letter said. 

A spokesperson for the agency said in response on Friday, “The public should rest assured the FDA is working closely with numerous manufacturers and others in the supply chain to understand, mitigate and prevent or reduce the impact of intermittent or reduced availability of certain products.” 

The spokesperson also emphasized that the agency does not manufacture drugs nor can it compel drugmakers to make or change the distribution of products.


DEA Administrator Anne Milgram similarly made this point in a letter issued on Friday that listed steps her agency was making to alleviate the ongoing stimulant shortage.

Milgram said in her letter that 17 out of 18 relevant manufacturers had agreed to increase production of stimulants, though it’s unclear when this ramped-up production will impact store shelves.

She also announced policy changes aimed at preventing future shortages, including requiring manufacturers to apply for quota allotments for producing controlled substances on a quarterly basis instead of annually. 

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