Industry: FDA Policies are Raising Threat of Drug Shortages

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Michael Causey, Editor & Publisher,

A sobering report from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) highlights a serious and growing drug shortage problem in this country – and the FDA is one of the big problems, according to many in the drug industry.

“This is a national security and health risk conundrum,” says former FDA reviewer and now industry consultant (and fellow Assurx blogger) Patrick Stone.

“If the pill well runs dry on our seniors or high risk folks they may expire or degrade further in health,” Patrick worries. The FDA’s “GMP controls and tightly held batch quotas are a mess. QbD will add fuel to this fire by doubling the number of drugs that don’t make it to the shelves.”

A distressing article from Marginal Revolution raises further questions about why this is happening and FDA’s role in it. “Currently there are about 246 drugs that are in short supply, a record high. These shortages are not just a result of accident, error or unusual circumstance, the number of drugs in short supply has risen steadily since 2006. The shortages arise from a combination of systematic factors, among them the policies of the FDA.

Stone’s take: “The FDA simply doesn’t understand how many drugs are impacted by its regulations.” He challenges the agency to track that, just as it tracks 483 violations and other issues.

Editor’s Note: Watch for a new Patrick Stone blog on this topic next week.

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