Thu. May 30th, 2024

Senate Finance Committee introduces legislation aimed at fixing drug shortages

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May26,2024

The Senate Finance Committee on Friday introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at preventing and reducing generic drug shortages by leveraging Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The draft legislation proposes the creation of a “Medicare Drug Shortage Prevention and Mitigation Program” that would encourage improved contracting and purchasing practices in the drug supply chain. The program would begin in 2027, according to the committee.

The provisions would include requiring Medicare participants to adopt “new standards for supply chain resiliency, reliability, and transparency” for generic drug purchasing in order to receive Medicare payment incentives.

Among these standards would be minimum three-year contracts with manufacturers, purchase volume commitments, requirements for contingency contracts with alternate manufacturers and transparency around manufacturer quality control issues.

Providers who meet core standards would be eligible for “quarterly, lump-sum incentive payments.”

Last month, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists recorded the highest number of domestic drug shortages since it began tracking this metric in 2001, with 323 active shortages. Commonly prescribed drugs like Adderall and Albuterol have been in shortage since 2022.

Generic drug manufacturers work with extremely thin margins, putting pressure on them to oftentimes operate at capacity. This practice, however, leaves generic drugs particularly vulnerable to shortages when disruptions occur.

Committee chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) blamed “monopolistic middlemen” for putting “market power and profit over families’ health care.”

“Our bipartisan proposal uses the power of Medicare and Medicaid to ensure the entire American health care system has adequate supply for key medicines across the country,” said Wyden. “Middlemen like GPOs should not be able to do business with Medicare if their contracting practices are actively worsening the drug shortage challenge in America.”

“Prescription drug shortages are fueling high prices and limiting access to life-saving treatments and cures,” Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) said. “We look forward to working with other members, experts and stakeholders on addressing these life-threatening challenges and promoting consistent, cost-effective health care for Americans nationwide.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Senate Finance Committee introduces legislation aimed at fixing drug shortages”
  1. As an experienced pharmacist, I believe that the proposed “Medicare Drug Shortage Prevention and Mitigation Program” could be a game-changer in addressing the persistent issue of generic drug shortages. It’s crucial to implement new standards for supply chain resiliency and transparency to ensure a reliable drug supply for patients in need. The incentive payments for providers who meet core standards would further incentivize adherence to these essential requirements. The increasing number of drug shortages in recent years calls for proactive measures, and I see this legislation as a step in the right direction.

  2. As a healthcare professional, I believe this legislation is a crucial step in addressing the ongoing issue of drug shortages. It’s high time we prioritize the fair and reliable supply of generic drugs to ensure patient safety and well-being. I support the idea of establishing new standards and incentives to enhance the resilience and transparency of the drug supply chain. Let’s hope these measures bring positive changes to the healthcare industry.

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