Today, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) made the following statement after President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action to help prevent and reduce prescription drug shortages, protect consumers, and prevent price gouging:
"Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order that will make critical advances toward eliminating the problem of prescription drug shortages. By directing the FDA to take the necessary steps toward preventing and reducing shortages, protecting consumers from price gouging, and safeguarding access to lifesaving drugs, President Obama has once again demonstrated that he understands that America simply cannot wait for action from Washington.
"Patients can't wait while unexpected shortages leave them without access to lifesaving medications. Seniors can't wait while dramatic increases in prices threaten their livelihood on a fixed income. And our children can't wait while the treatments and technologies of the future languish in the pipeline for approval. President Obama understands this urgency, and today his Administration made critical investments, protecting consumers and our nation's health."
Over the last five years, the number of prescription drug shortages in the U.S. has nearly tripled, while drug prices have skyrocketed. The President's Executive Order takes important steps to protect consumers from the crises that can occur with drug shortages and price gouging by requiring drug manufacturers to provide adequate notice of potential shortages well in advance. It also requires the FDA to broaden its scope of reporting potential shortages, and to work with the Department of Justice to examine whether potential shortages have led to illegal price gouging or stockpiling of life-saving medications.
"I am so pleased that the steps taken today will make it possible for all Americans who depend on lifesaving prescriptions to have timely access to them at affordable prices," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "Going forward, I hope to work with my colleagues in Congress and the Obama Administration to ensure that all Americans continue to have access to the best possible health care, without prohibitive cost or delay."