The US Food and Drug Administration has taken the decision to form new task force in order to know why the country is facing a drug shortage crisis and what possible solutions can be taken.
Even though the agency has made a certain amount of progress to address the shortages, it is important to come with new and innovative ways to tackle with the problem, said Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Thursday.
In the recent years, shortages of new drug have considerably declined, especially since the year 2011, when around 250 new drug shortages were recorded but still, the shortages continue to pose a threat and challenge to the health of general public, as per a report by FDA. This is particularly the case when a drug shortage involves a kind of critical drug which is used to treat cancer, for providing parental nutrition or to deal with any other kind of serious health condition, the report further said.
In the last few years, the shortages of high profile drug includes IV Fluids, injectable painkillers and the most recent, EpiPens.
Keagan Lenihan, the associate commissioner for strategic initiatives of FDA, will lead the task force, called as the Drug Shortages Task Force, which will also include the representatives of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, FDA as well as the Department of the Veterans Affairs.
In the previous year, the drug production problems which came from Irma, Hurricanes Harvey and mainly Maria, caused the new drug shortages and also added to the existing ones as well, said the FDA in the report.
The generic medicines specifically have pretty low margins and due to the industry consolidation, mistakes or errors can have major consequences, said Gottlieb.
The solutions to the shortage may include improving the manufacturing investments meant for generic medicines, re-evaluating reimbursement for some drugs and to create a critical drug list of the drugs which are of utmost requirement, Gottlieb further said.