Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > Sebelius: Manufacturers, Market To Blame For Drug Shortages

Sebelius: Manufacturers, Market To Blame For Drug Shortages

Posted 17 February 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a public health meeting that manufacturers and market pressures are primarily to blame for drug shortages, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Sebelius spoke on 16 February to a health coverage forum in Philadelphia, which covered a wide range of topics including the issue of drug shortages.

Sebelius said that "there is a gap between demand and manufacturing capacity" that DHHS is unable to fix. Sebelius also noted that "drug companies are making decisions each and every day about which lines of drugs to run," which is harming older drugs that only have a handful of-or sometimes just one-producers.

The appearance came the day after Sebelius testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, where she was questioned extensively about the issue. There, Sebelius said that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expected to solve production issues related to methotrexate-a drug used to treat acute lymphocytic leukemia in children-within two weeks.

FDA has been working with alternate drug suppliers to alleviate shortage situations, said Sebelius.

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