Coalition proposes ways to combat drug shortages

A coalition of health care groups is calling on the federal government to take steps to address the ongoing shortages of critical medications across the country.

A coalition of health care groups is calling on the federal government to take steps to address the ongoing shortages of critical medications across the country. Among the groups that formulated the recommendations are the American Hospital Association, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. The coalition's 19 proposals were issued the day before a public meeting held by FDA and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy that was designed to get stakeholder input on the root causes of drug shortages and what to do about them. The coalition recommends strategies that would allow health care providers to prepare for an imminent shortage of certain drugs. The group wants FDA to share information on the type of products that may be impacted during a public health emergency and the expected duration of the impact on the drug supply chain. These communications, the coalition says, would "allow health care organizations to assess their inventories ... and would give manufacturers the time needed to manage their supplies to ensure equitable distribution and guard against potential hoarding of drugs." The coalition also recommends that the Government Accountability Office be commissioned to report on the new and emerging factors that contribute to shortages.