In a statement submitted to the Senate Finance Committee Dec. 5 for a hearing on drug shortages and potential health policy solutions, AHA reiterated its support for multiple bills in the Senate to address drug shortages and shore up the nation’s fragile pharmaceutical supply chain.

“Of particular concern to hospitals are the cascading impact of drug shortages on patients and the heightened stress on scarce hospital resources,” AHA wrote. “Shortages can adversely affect patient care by causing delays in treatment, increasing the risk of medication errors and requiring the use of less effective alternative treatments. As a result, diseases that are curable or manageable for most patients, such as childhood leukemia, may not be able to be treated effectively. … To mitigate these challenges, strengthening the supply chain is crucial. A focus on increasing manufacturing redundancy, diversifying where raw materials are sourced and where products are manufactured, and ‘fattening’ the overall supply chain will provide significant improvements. It will allow the supply chain to withstand expected and unexpected fluctuations in the supply of, and demand for, pharmaceutical products and protecting it against future public health emergencies and natural disasters.”

Testifying at the hearing were representatives from Civica Rx, a non-profit generic drug company created by U.S. health systems and philanthropies to address drug shortages; the Association for Clinical Oncology; a professor of clinical pharmacy at the University of California, San Diego; and an economist and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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