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Drug Shortage Crisis Concerns Hospice, Draws Bipartisan Interest

Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 3:47 PM

The Food and Drug Administration has identified39 new drug and biological product shortages in 2017, a sharp increase from 2016.  The main cause for these shortages is a major manufacturer shut down a production facility and the effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, where a significant amount of drug manufacturing takes place.

Due to these shortages and the potential of damage to patients, a bipartisan group of 31 Senators, asked the FDA “Shortage Task Force work with stakeholders and federal agencies to determine the root causes of drug shortages and develop recommendations to ensure that appropriate supplies of essential medications are always available.”

“In recent months we’ve become increasingly aware of concerns on the part of hospice and palliative care programs that production issues and DEA-imposed limits may threaten timely access to controlled substances and other items that are essential to effective treatment of pain and other symptoms connected with terminal illness, says Theresa Forster, Vice President for Hospice Policy at the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC). “We are grateful for this bipartisan Senate effort encouraging establishment of the Drug Shortage Task Force to help ensure that our nation’s health care providers are able to appropriately address legitimate medication needs on an ongoing basis.”

The Senators’ letter points out that local anesthetics, injectable opioids, ophthalmic diagnostics and IV fluids are in the greatest need.  These are some of the most common items, used daily in all health care settings. 

Source: NAHC Report

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