Klobuchar Shines A Light On Medication Shortage

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — Pharmacists, physicians and patients join U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to address a growing shortage of medications.

“This is something that’s always been going on, but it’s just gotten worse in the last year,” Klobuchar said, “There’s now 150 drugs on the list that the FDA has.”

Earlier this month, Klobuchar sent a letter to the head of the FDA, Margaret Hamburg, requesting “immediate action” to ensure adequate supplies of essential drugs.

“I personally called the FDA commissioner to talk to her about it. They would think that some legislation would be helpful that I’ll be introducing,” Klobuchar said.

The new legislation will provide the FDA with more tools to manage potential drug shortages.

“It would give them more advanced warning if the drug companies are seeing a shortage,” she explained.

Klobuchar said shortages are caused by private manufacturers who either make a business decision or something changes.

“Everyone from myself, to the Governor, to the incoming Governor Mark Dayton, have been pushing to allow some of these drugs to come in from other countries because they’re cheaper,” said Klobuchar.

The medications in short supply include everything from morphine for pain relief to propofol for sedation to leucovorin for cancer.

Klobuchar said there is also a serious shortage of pre-filled epinephrine syringes used in emergencies to treat heart attacks and allergic reactions.

“You would be surprised at the number of drugs on this list. It’s literally doubled in the last five years,” said Klobuchar.

While at Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina, Klobuchar will also announce legislation to provide the FDA with more tools to manage drug shortages.

Written by: Courtney King

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s John Hines Reports

WCCO-TV’s Holly Wagner Reports

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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