It’s an issue with which hospitals and physicians are far too familiar – the increasing shortages of drugs. Recent shortages have included such relatively common drugs such as epinephrine, lidocaine, and ketamine, as well as shortages of relatively newer drugs. The Food and Drug Administration convened an interagency Drug Shortages Task Force, held public hearing in September and October 2018, and kept the public docket on the issue open through January 2019 to gather input. Since then nothing much has happened.
Last week, a bipartisan Congressional letter, including signatures from Massachusetts Democrats James McGovern and Katherine Clark, asked Interim FDA Commissioner Norman “Ned” Sharpless, M.D. when he expected the FDA to release its report to Congress. The FDA has not had a permanent chief since March 2019, when former Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced his resignation.