Congress tackling medicine shortages


Congress tackling medicine shortages

Columbus Dispatch – Pending federal legislation would help head off drug shortages by allowing hospitals to “ repackage” medication into multiple doses, supporters say.

The bill, which last week cleared the U.S. Senate 96-1, also would require drug manufacturers to notify the Food and Drug Administration of any upcoming drug shortages.Some manufacturers already have been doing that voluntarily, a step credited with helping the FDA avert some drug shortages.

During a news conference yesterday in Columbus, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said he expects the House to approve the legislation and the president to sign it into law.

“This is an example of how government should work,” Brown said at the outpatient breast cancer center of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital, 1145 Olentangy River Rd.

Dr. Michael Grever, chairman of internal medicine at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, called drug shortages “a national crisis.”

“We’ve been too often stymied by drug shortages that prevent us from being able to effectively treat patients who may all need the same drug,” Grever said.

Under Senate Bill 3187, known as the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, hospitals would be permitted to redistribute medication only within their network, a spokeswoman for Sen. Brown said.

Brown said current law doesn’t allow hospitals to divide medication packaged together and send some to other affiliated hospitals, resulting in waste and contributing to shortages when those drugs are in short supply.

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