June 20, 2018
ASA Co-Leads Effort on Large Bipartisan Letter Urging Action on Drug Shortages
With leadership from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the support of other medical specialty groups, a bipartisan group of more than 130 lawmakers from both chambers of Congress sent formal Congressional letters to the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to address critical shortages of injectable anesthetics and intravenous pain medications. The letters urged the Commissioner to convene its Drug Shortage Task Force with stakeholders to identify permanent solutions to this ongoing problem impacting physician practices. Both letters specifically referenced a member survey conducted by ASA that found that 98 percent of respondents indicated they regularly experience anesthesia drug shortages, and 95 percent said the shortages adversely affected patient care.
On June 15, 31 Senators, led by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), joined the written request sent to the FDA. Similarly, 102 members of the House of Representatives transmitted their letter to FDA on June 18, led by Reps. Brett Guthrie (R-KY-2) and Mike Doyle (D-PA-14).
Lawmakers asked that the task force “determine the root causes of drug shortages, develop recommendations for Congress to ensure that appropriate supplies of essential medications are always available, and to take appropriate action to ensure that they are.” Notably, the Senators’ communication asked for quick, short term action— requesting the task force submit recommendations to Congress by the end of 2019.
During LEGISLATIVE CONFERENCE 2018, more than 600 physician anesthesiologists visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill asking Members of Congress to find solutions to this critical patient safety issue by working with the FDA and other stakeholders.
Read the Senate letter to FDA
Read the House letter to FDA
Read the press release by Senators on the FDA letter