The White House Addresses the Drug Shortage Issue

President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order yesterday addressing the drug shortage issue.

As we have reported extensively on, the current drug shortages have impacted colorectal cancer patients who have been unable to get 5-FU, leucovorin or on occasion, irinotecan.

The Executive Order does not change the law, and it will not help patients who cannot get their drugs today, but it does reinforce the powers of the Food and Drug Administration to take steps that would ease the burden by:

  • Broader reporting of when a manufacturer has stopped producing a drug that could lead to a shortage.
  • Increased effort to review drug suppliers and manufacturing sites and changes. It also directs the FDA to prioritize its resources according to the burden of the shortage to the public health.
  • Collaboration with the Department of Justice to address drug stockpiling and price gouging.

On hand at the signing of the Executive Order was colorectal cancer patient Jay Cuetara, who has spoken out publicly about his experience with the 5-FU shortage. Jay is featured on the White House website talking about how this issue impacts cancer patients.

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