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Today the President addressed drug shortages in an executive order. Image: Sarah Korf/Flickr/CC BY-SA

President Obama signed an executive order Monday directing the Food and Drug Administration to reduce drug shortages. The rising problem, said the president, is dangerous for patients and opens the door to price gouging. Congressional Republicans say the effort is mere campaign rhetoric.

Three points to order

The order demands three things of the FDA: 1) A wider reporting of potential shortages of certain prescription drugs, 2) to speed up the application process of making the drugs, and 3) more transparency in reporting instances of price gouging to the Justice Department.

Latest in ‘We Can’t Wait’

The order is the latest in the president’s “We Can’t Wait” campaign, which addresses important issues by using Executive Order to sidestep Congressional Republicans. Republican’s continue to block his $447 billion jobs bill.

President Obama was joined by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, FDA Commissioner Peggy Hamburg, a pharmacy manager and a cancer patient at today’s signing ceremony. The president said:

“Recently, we have seen how the potential of drug shortages for vital drugs, including some cancers, can really have an adverse impact on patients and those who are caring for patients. Sometimes we run out of or run low on certain types of drugs, and that drives up prices, and it increases patient risk.”

At the ceremony, President Obama also said “Congress has been trying since February to do something about this.” He further said that the nation can ill-afford to wait for “action on the Hill.”

GOP says ‘Just more words’

In response, Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski asked why the president hadn’t issued the order earlier. According to her, drug shortages have been a documented problem since before the president took office in 2009. She dismissed the order as: “Just more words from an administration looking for talking points to get them through re-election.”

Last week the president signed other executive orders addressing the repayment of student loans, mortgage refinancing and jobs for veterans.

Sources

USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2011-10-31/obama-fda-drug-shortages/51011566/1
MSNBC: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45102150/ns/health-health_care/#.Tq7-rGWP-_0
Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/42b83d8a-03de-11e1-864e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1cObeCvbR

 

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