Oversight Democrats Launch Investigation Into Nationwide Shortages of Medications

Feb 21, 2024
Press Release
Prolonged Shortages of Drugs for Cancer, Bacterial Infections, and ADHD Raise Serious Concerns

Washington, D.C. (February 21, 2024)—Today, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, led Oversight Democrats in letters to Teva, Pfizer, and Sandoz requesting a briefing and information prompted by ongoing shortages of a number of cancer drugs, including carboplatin, cisplatin, and methotrexate, the antibiotic amoxicillin, and stimulant medications, such as Adderall.

 

Pfizer and its subsidiaries are major manufacturers of carboplatin, cisplatin, and methotrexate, three generic drugs commonly used to treat cancer.  The intermittent and repeated shortages have affected patients across the United States. There have also been reports of price gouging driving up the price of these medications.

 

“The current oncology drug shortage affects the clinical decision-making process, patient outcomes, and quality of life, and without crucial oncology drugs, cancer patients face severe gaps in their treatments and an increased risk of severe, life-threatening complications,” wrote Committee Democrats in their letter to Mr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Inc.

 

Sandoz Inc. U.S. is one of the top manufacturers of powder amoxicillin, which has been in short supply since October 2022.  In September 2023, Sandoz issued a public statement attributing the antibiotic’s shortage to the marketplace and stating that the low price point for amoxicillin was causing manufacturers to exit the market, further exacerbating the shortage.

    

“Parents, pediatricians, and children depend on amoxicillin to treat a variety of childhood illnesses, from the routine to life-threatening, and antibiotics like amoxicillin are 42% more likely to experience shortages than other prescription medications,” wrote Committee Democrats in their letter to Ms. Karen Haruvi, President North America of Sandoz Inc. U.S.

 

Teva Pharmaceuticals is one of the largest manufacturers of Adderall.  The Food and Drug Administration formally announced a shortage of Adderall and its generic equivalents on October 12, 2022, and since then, supply has not been sufficient to meet U.S. market demand. 

 

“Our constituents share story after story detailing how hard it is to fill prescriptions for Adderall and that the shortage affects every element of their lives.  For example, previously capable students are now barely able to get passing grades, and adults are forced to contact every local pharmacy in an attempt to obtain a medication that may be the difference between being productive and focused in the workplace or losing their livelihoods,” wrote Committee Democrats in their letter to Mr. Richard Francis, President and CEO of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

 

In December 2021, Oversight Democrats released a staff report of a nearly three-year investigation of the pharmaceutical industry, which found that the companies studied by the Committee raised prices of common brand-name drugs by nearly four times the rate of inflation from 2016 to 2020.  Today’s letters launch an investigation that builds on the Committee’s previous work to ensure all medications are easily accessible to those who rely on them.

 

Committee Democrats request the drug manufacturers provide information related to the shortages no later than March 6, 2024, to help determine root causes and practical solutions needed to remedy them.

 

Click here to read the letter to Pfizer Inc.

 

Click here to read the letter to Sandoz Inc. U.S.

 

Click here to read the letter to Teva Pharmaceuticals USA. Inc.

 

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118th Congress