"There are things the government can do that are positive, but there are things we need to do in the private sector," he said. "We need to work with manufacturers and distributors to manage or mitigate the disruptions that occur in the market. How do we help ensure that the products are shared broadly and allocated effectively, that there is a heads up so that folks are preparing when there is an impending shortage. Those are the things we talk to distributors about."
Childs believes that much of the president executive order will do little if anything to solve the short-term shortage of prescription drugs. "But it will help reduced the problems in the longer term. The ultimate long term solution is they need to speed approval at FDA and also for both the new generic products and the active pharmaceutical ingredients," he said.
AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in a prepared statement that the order "comes at a critical time and is welcome news for hospitals and the patients they care for. The number of drug shortages has tripled in the last six years and the shortages are affecting patient care."
An AHA survey this year found that nearly 100% of hospitals reported a shortage in the past six months, but that most of them rarely -- if ever -- received advance notification of these drug shortages.
"Clinicians need more notice from drug manufacturers so they have time to act to ensure that patient care is not disrupted," Pollack said. "Hospitals are doing their best to reduce the impact of shortages by increasing inventories, buying alternative drugs and training clinical staff on how to deal with drug shortages."
While AHA supports the president's order, Pollack says Congress must step up to pass bipartisan legislation that requires drug companies to tell the FDA as soon as possible of interruptions in supply or discontinuations.
"In addition, we believe that obstacles must be removed so that FDA is able to streamline approval of drugs in shortage," Pollack said.