FDA task force attributes drug shortages to low generic prices, 'broken marketplace'

Chronic drug shortages are a result of low prices for older generic medicines and what officials call a "broken marketplace," because it doesn't follow the textbook model of supply and demand, according to a new federal report released Oct. 29. 

The report, conducted by a task force assembled by the FDA, examined the underlying factors responsible for drug shortages. 

The task force identified three root causes: a lack of incentives to produce less-profitable drugs, not recognizing or rewarding quality production systems, and regulatory and logistical challenges.

The agency analyzed 163 drugs that were once, or still are, in shortage and found that most were lower priced, older generics. This meant they were financially unattractive for drugmakers.

Quality-control problems were also responsible for more than half of recent drug shortages, the task force found. 

The report also detailed a few recommendations to address drug shortages, including developing a rating system to incentivize drugmakers to invest in quality management and production at their facilities. 

The report was generated by an FDA task force that was created to respond to the worsening drug shortage crisis in the U.S. 

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