Watch Jay Cuetara, a cancer patient and advocate for drug shortage reform, speak about President Obama's executive action to reduce prescription drug shortages in America here.
President Obama today signed an executive order that directs the FDA to step up work to reduce the drug shortages and protect consumers. Jay Cuetara know just how important this is: in August, the center where he was receiving chemotherapy ran out of the drug being used to treat his cancer, which "can mean the difference between curing your cancer and not," the San Francisco man explained.
The President's action means that drug companies will be required to let the FDA know earlier about the potential for drug shortages so that they can respond successfully. If we find out that prices are being driven up because shortages are being made worse by manipulations of companies or distributors, agencies will be empowered to stop those practices. And the FDA and the Department of Justice will be investigating any kinds of abuses that would lead to drug shortages.
As the President said today, we can't wait for action. "We'll still be calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan bill that will provide additional tools to the FDA and others that can make a difference. But until they act, we will go ahead and move."
Update: Check out a video from Bonnie Frawley, a pharmacy manager from Boston, who talks about what the President’s order will mean for hospitals.