Drug shortages continue to increase throughout the country. More than 200 drugs are "currently in shortage," according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The drugs with the greatest shortages in the market are generic drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADHD), local anesthetics, antimicrobials, ophthalmologic drugs and drugs used to treat cancer.
The number of drugs in short supply recorded in the first quarter of this year (301) is 49% higher than the number available (202) in the first three months of 2018. In addition, the figure broke a record for being the highest documented since 2014, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Foundation, an organization representing pharmacists.
Shortages are not being resolved and new ones are increasing. Ongoing and active shortages are the highest since 2014.
White House and Congress on alert
Drug manufacturers are dealing with financial problems, supply chain disruptions, excess demand, manufacturing problems and ingredient shortages. These are some of the factors that cause shortages.
The high level of shortages concerns the White House and Congress. Both are looking for the causes and possible solutions to the problem by turning to the market.
The Biden administration appointed a task force to look for long-term solutions to mitigate the impact of the pharmaceutical supply chain crisis. Congressmen have discussed possible measures such as tax incentives for generic drug manufacturers and efforts to spread information to the public about the quality of these drugs.
David Gaugh, interim CEO of the Association for Accessible Medicines, warned FDA officials that generic drug maker bankruptcies won't be getting better any time soon:
Shortages are increasing. We've all seen that (...) And it's likely to get worse, not better, very soon.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf asked Congress for help and said, "We have to fix the central economy if we are going to fix this situation."