The House Ways and Means Committee held a Feb. 6 hearing, “Examining Chronic Drug Shortages in the United States.” The hearing, which featured witnesses from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, highlighted the regulatory, economic, and environmental drivers of recurrent drug shortages and their impact on patients’ access to care. Members discussed potential policy solutions to address drug shortages, including financial incentives for hospitals and providers to maintain a buffer supply of essential medicines. The AAMC previously endorsed this policy in its comments on the calendar year 2024 Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System proposed rule [refer to Washington Highlights, Sept. 8, 2023].
Drug shortages and their impact on patient care are an increasing area of focus on Capitol Hill. In August 2023, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) unveiled discussion draft legislation intended to address shortages, which the AAMC commented on [refer to Washington Highlights, Aug. 31, 2023]. The Senate Finance Committee also held a hearing and released a white paper outlining policy levers to address shortages of generic sterile injectable drugs [refer to Washington Highlights, Dec. 8, 2023].