U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., will try to attach her year-old bill on drug shortages to transportation legislation under discussion in the Senate, she said Tuesday.
Klobuchar and Robert Casey Jr., D-Pa., introduced a bill last February that would require drug companies to give advance warning to the Food and Drug Administration about potential shortages. The legislation has languished since, despite an executive order from President Barack Obama urging Congress to pass legislation to address looming shorrtages. Since 2006, the number of drugs in short supply has risen to 220, an almost fourfold increase from 2006, FDA data indicates.
The recent shortage of a medicine for childhood cancer has led Klobuchar to redouble her efforts. She has plans to attach the bill as an amendment to the transportation bill and has sent a letter to manufacturers of a drug used to treat children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, calling on them to increase production and reduce the shortage. Klobuchar also hosted a forum in Edina last month with Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz and Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson to discuss drug shortage and ways to ensure patients have access to affordable medications.
The Senate transportation plan proposes to spend $109 billion over less than two years to shore up the nation’s roads, bridges and transportation systems. Senators are scheduled to take up their version this week. House members are reviewing a different bill.