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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

More from John Hines
  • Mike

    More demand, less product, (artificially created) equals higher costs and more profit…………The American way (where profit is god).

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  • Brad

    Grow up, Mike.

  • Jimbo

    And…we’re fighting in the mideast and giving foreign aid, you never hear this, because….? Oh yes, you need to get re-elected. CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME.

  • Bomik

    Actually Brad, Mike is right. The last disease cured was Polio. Just think of the money lost if they cured Cancer. Doctors, Nurses, Technicians, Analysis, Drug Manufactures, Specialists, Foundations, the list goes on, would all be out of work. Some Senoirs out there can’t get their medication cause they can’t afford it. If you’ve got money you can get the medication you need. I know I deal with a lot of this. Before YOU comment YOU should know what your talking about.

  • K.

    Actually, Bomik, before YOU comment YOU should know what you are talking about. I am a nurse and the continuation of a disease such as cancer isn’t what keeps me employed. Healthcare is pretty big and it involves not just diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, but also education and prevention. Cancer is a very complex disease because there are so many kinds and they don’t all act the same. They have been studying this for years and, although they are getting closer, they are still so very far away from curing it. I am also a cancer survivor, so I’ve done my research. I also have a PhD in nursing, and understand how much is involved in research studies.

  • Ignorance must be bliss

    K – I am not saying that you do not know what you are talking about but you cannot say with a straight face that the medical industry has been nickel and diming the American public for years. How is it that all these pharmaceutical companies have record breaking sales all the time yet there seems to be shortages all the time as well. I believe what Bomik is talking about is the business practices that they use make people not trust them. It is as if they have taken the same stance that Harley has and only make so much not because they cannot make more, just because the price can be $100 if only 1000 are made, yet they could be $20 if 3000 are made. I would not want to live in a place that does not have any kind of health care, but you cannot be mad at people with a sour taste for the medical profession as this taste was put there by them. No other business can scare someone into spending money like they can. Read a little on all the unnecessary tests that are done in the US every year. But having that PHD you probably already know that.

  • I am just wondering?

    Maybe the drug companies are skipping the country out the back door to greener pastures since they have farmed us dry? Can’t get much milk out of a sick cow? Brazil and China maybe?

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