Washington, D.C. – Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Vice-Chairman on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, today attended a hearing titled “Examining Drug Shortages and Recent Efforts to Address Them.” Burgess issued the following opening statement:
“When doctors don’t have essential tools, they may be restricted in what they can do for patients. Members of this Committee took the lead and have made major strides in working to reduce drug shortages by passing the Food Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act in 2012.
“Additionally, I have worked very closely with Chairmen Upton and Pitts on several of the provisions. Things have gotten better. However, the problems have not fully gone away. As recently as February 5th, the FDA has listed sodium chloride injection bags as a drug shortage.
“FDA has a role in addressing drug shortages, but this is a complex and serious issue. In 2010, more than 240 drugs were in short supply or were unavailable, and more than 400 generic equivalents were backordered.
“Many generic lines operate at margins so tight that when production becomes corrupted they cannot afford to revamp machinery. This inevitably leads one to the backlog of more than 3,000 generic applications.
“Physicians are still faced with having to tell patients that they cannot receive the care they need not because there is no treatment, but because a product is simply not available.
“I thank the Chairman for holding this hearing so we can learn more on the progress being made on our nation’s drug shortage problem. I am pleased that the GAO report is being released, and I look forward to hearing from GAO on their findings.
“This law aimed to ensure providers the tools they need to alleviate the suffering of every patient. I look forward to hearing today if it is in fact achieving that goal.”