Amazing Pace

  • by: |
  • 05/07/2012
According to FDA Commish Peggy Hamburg, since President Obama gave the agency new authorities to address drug shortages new shortages have fallen (year-to-year) by more than half.  There have been 42 new shortages in 2012 compared to 90 at the same time last year.

But is this decline really due to the FDA’s ability to demand earlier information about potential shortages from manufacturers? 

“I am both amazed and delighted to see the progress that’s been made, said Hamburg.  Key word:  “Amazed.”

While the FDA’s new authorities are both timely and important, there are many pieces to the drug shortages problem – not the least of which is that (when it comes to hospital injectables) 30% of manufacturing capacity is off-line due to FDA inspection issues. That’s a lot of capacity. In fact, according to the agency, 43% of reported potential shortages were due to manufacturing issues.

Greater cooperation between agency and manufacturers is required so that this gap can be corrected before problems arise.  A 30% hole in manufacturing is more than a hint that something’s amiss on both sides.

Is it a victory when you are solving the problems you create?


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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