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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Responds to Bicameral RFI on Drug Shortages, Rebuts Criticisms of 340B Program


    Sinead Hunt, Legislative Analyst
    For Media Inquiries

    On July 6, the AAMC responded to a request for information (RFI) on drug shortages issued by House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). The RFI contained 14 questions examining the economic and regulatory factors driving drug shortages, as well as their impact on patient care.  

    In its response, the AAMC focused on the impact of drug shortages on member institutions and the patients they serve, resulting in “treatment delays, a shift towards alternative (and sometimes, less effective) treatment regimens, and in the most extreme cases, care rationing.” Given the important role of teaching hospitals and health systems in the provision of cancer care, the letter noted the increased susceptibility of certain cancer drugs to shortages. 

    The response also refuted claims that the 340B Drug Pricing Program contributes to drug shortages. In support of this position, the letter explained that the program accounts for a “meager portion” of the U.S. drug market and, therefore, does not drive manufacturers’ production decisions. The AAMC also highlighted that 340B pricing does not apply to generic products, which are the most vulnerable to shortages. The letter concluded that the causes of drug shortages are complex and multifactorial, including economic forces and supply chain vulnerabilities. The association’s response reaffirmed the importance of the 340B program in supporting access to life-saving medications for low-income and historically under-resourced patients.  

    Responses to this RFI will inform the House Energy and Commerce and Senate Finance Committees’ respective efforts to develop policy solutions to drug shortages and bolster patients’ access to care.