WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new drug investigation conducted by a Senate committee, shows the US is facing a shortage of critical drugs. Drugs that are used against the common cold or flu to drugs that are used for cancer.
In a recent investigation spearheaded by Michigan Senator Gary Peters (D- MI), the investigation finds that the US is facing a drug shortage problem. Peters highlighted the findings in a recent hearing.
“Range from drugs used in hospitals to provide critical care and treat serious diseases like cancers to prescription medication, dialysis, even common over the counter remedies that treat cold and flu symptoms,” said Sen. Peters.
We spoke with the Senator on this. He said his investigation found a number of causes for these issues.
“One is we are overly dependent on foreign sources for our critical medicines here in the United States,” said Sen. Peters. “In fact, when you look at what are called the precursors, this is the chemicals that go usually in every drug that we use in our country 90 percent of all of those either come from China or India. We also found that things found like in IVs, sterile solutions, are sometimes only made by one or two companies and sometimes only one very large facility makes it and if anything happens to that facility, all of a sudden you have a shortage and you can’t have a critical piece of medicine available for folks.”
Republicans, like Senator Rand Paul (R- KY), said this is not a new issue and blames expanded regulatory overreach by the FDA for these shortages.
“Rules and regulations that prohibit the production of drugs will create pain and problems for hospitals and patients,” said Sen. Paul.
Doctors told senators hospitals struggle to make decisions about patient care based on projected availability of certain drugs.
“How can we prioritize between American lives,” said Dr. Andrew Shuman, M.D.
Senator Peters said the first step in correcting this is by looking at solutions to see where the US can fill gaps in our supply chain and build up our drug manufacturing base here in the US.