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Medication Management

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FDA acts to bolster supply of critically needed cancer drugs; announcements build on President Obama’s Executive Order


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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced a series of steps to increase the supply of critically needed cancer drugs and build on President Obama’s Executive Order to help prevent future drug shortages.
 
“A drug shortage can be a frightening prospect for patients and President Obama made it clear that preventing these shortages from happening is a top priority of his administration,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Through the collaborative work of FDA, industry, and other stakeholders, patients and families waiting for these products or anxious about their availability should now be able to get the medication they need.”
 
In response to the critical shortage of the cancer drug Doxil (doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome injection) and rapidly declining supplies of methotrexate, the FDA took proactive steps needed to increase available supply for patients in the U.S. For Doxil, there will be temporary importation of a replacement drug, Lipodox (doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome injection), which is expected to end the shortage and fully meet patient needs in the coming weeks. For methotrexate, in addition to already announced actions, the Agency has approved a new manufacturer of preservative-free formulation of methotrexate that is expected to further bolster supply and help avert a shortage of this lifesaving medicine.  FDA expedited review of the application to help address this potential shortage.
 
In addition, in response to President Obama’s Executive Order on prescription drug shortages, FDA today issued draft guidance to industry on detailed requirements for both mandatory and voluntary notifications to the agency of issues that could result in a drug shortage or supply disruption. Increased awareness of the importance of early notification due to President Obama’s Oct. 31, 2011, Executive Order and FDA’s letter to manufacturers on the same day has resulted in a sixfold increase in voluntary notifications by industry of potential shortages. In 2011, there were a total of 195 drug shortages prevented. Since the Executive Order, FDA has prevented 114 drug shortages.

 

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