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Obama orders FDA to zero in on drug shortage crisis

PBS NewsHour, November 1, 2011

President Obama called for swift government action Monday against a drug shortage crisis that's increasingly left doctors and hospitals scrambling for life-saving medications -- often including those used in cancer and emergency treatment. The executive order from the White House called on the Food and Drug Administration to broaden its reporting of potential drug shortages, speed up the review of applications from companies wishing to change production of drugs facing a potential shortage, and pass along more information to the Justice Department regarding instances of suspected collusion or price gouging. Obama strongly supported legislation that's working its way through both houses of Congress that would force drug makers to notify the FDA six months before a potential shortage. Currently, manufacturers only need to alert the agency if medically necessary drugs are discontinued. Shortage notifications are strictly voluntary.