May 09, 2011
Senators Blumenthal, Casey and Harkin Request GAO Investigation into Drug Shortages
Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Robert Casey (D-PA), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) have sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an investigation into drug shortages. Senator Harkin is chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions - the committee with primary jurisdiction on this issue. The letter comes on the heels of a letter previously sent solely by Senator Blumenthal requesting the investigation. Senator Blumenthal spoke on the issue of drug shortages before more than 500 anesthesiologists at the 2011 ASA Legislative Conference.
In the letter, the Senators state, "We have met with a variety of stakeholders who report that hospitals around the country are experiencing frequest shortages of life-saving FDA-approved pharmaceutical products. These shortages directly threaten public health by preventing patients from accessing medications that are essential to their care."
ASA supports a GAO investigation that could help bring to light many of the multitude of causes of drug shortages as well as make recommendations on how to alleviate the record number of shortages.