Drug Shortages Exacerbated by Supply Chain Woes
"Generic pharmaceuticals play a critical role in any strategy to hold down health costs," Neas said. "We will continue to work with policymakers to ensure any proposed laws and regulations do not undo the framework responsible for decades of more affordable generics and trillions of dollars in savings."
Neas describes 2013 as "a year of milestone achievements" for the generic drugs industry. "Generic utilization hit an all-time high as 84 percent of prescriptions dispensed are now generic," he said.
"Congress passed the Drug Quality and Security Act to establish a nationwide, reliable system for tracking prescription medicine that further safeguards our nation's prescription drug supply and protects patients. The law also enhances the ability of regulators to limit risks posed by counterfeit or adulterated products and reassures patients that the generic medicines they receive are secure from the manufacturer all the way to the pharmacy."
Embracing Shared Responsibility
St. Anthony's pharmacy director says the best way to achieve a permanent solution to the nation's drug shortage problem is through teamwork among the players in the supply chain. "We're all part of the problem," Johnson said. "We all need to work together."
The new FDA shortage reporting rules are seen as a significant step toward greater cooperation. "That gives us a chance to allocate drugs before we run out," he said.
"It really is a situation that we are all in it together," Johnson said. "If we don't work together… sometimes we make these situations worse."
Christopher Cheney is health plans editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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