48 healthcare organizations urge Congress to pass legislation to combat drug shortages

A group of 48 health systems, hospitals and other healthcare organizations have penned a letter to Congress urging them to pass a law to combat shortages of critical drugs.

The Mitigating Emergency Drug Shortages Act, introduced by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.), gives the FDA more authority to help fight drug shortages and create incentives for drugmakers to help ensure a stable supply of lifesaving drugs.

"Drug shortages impact every single segment of the healthcare ecosystem and are a major driver of skyrocketing costs, contributing to half a billion dollars in increased healthcare expenditures annually," the letter read.

The letter notes that drug shortages have been on the rise for several years and an estimated 210 drugs are currently at risk or not readily available for U.S. hospitals, according to an American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists database.

Drug shortages also increase the risk of adverse events, which could lead to higher costs through longer hospital stays.

The MEDS Act creates a priority pathway for review of drug shortage applications. It also requires the HHS Secretary to give Congress recommendations on how to incentivize drugmakers to enter the market for shortages. The act also examines the risk to national security as a result of drug shortages, among other measures.

The signed organizations told Congress that "more needs to be done to eliminate drug shortages once and for all."

The participating organizations include Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based AdventHealth, Downers Grove, Ill., and Milwaukee-based Advocate Aurora Health, the Children's Hospital Association and Vizient, among others

Read the full letter here.

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