Why is it that President Obama continues to bypass Congress on important issues?
In an attempt to deal with the severe drug shortages the United States has been facing this past year, the president has signed an executive order that will require drug manufacturers to notify the Food and Drug Administration six months ahead of a potential shortage.
Currently, drug manufacturers are only required to notify the FDA if medically necessary drugs are being discontinued, and notification of shortages is voluntary.
I can tell you that America’s drug shortage problem will not be solved by this “quick fix” executive order.
It would be far more effective if Obama would sit down and meet with all the leaders of drug manufacturing in this country to pinpoint the root problems that affect the industry. Then together, they could brainstorm feasible solutions.
I’m not trying to defend the drug manufacturers here; I’m simply pointing out that to me, as a doctor, this new legislation is little more than political fanfare that won’t fix anything.
According to the FDA, the major causes of shortages are manufacturing problems or delays in receiving components from suppliers, as well as the enormous cost of research and development for prescription drugs.
The president also has to realize that many of the drugs involved in the shortage are emergency room medications, and this is partly because many patients over-utilize hospital services by using the emergency room as a place to get primary care.
What I’m trying to get at here is that the problem we’re dealing with is far more complex than it may seem, and simply signing an executive order and thinking everything will be okay isn’t enough to solve it.
We will continue to have this drug shortage problem moving forward, and it’s only going to get worse. The only way to tackle this issue is for Obama to work with Congress to find permanent solutions that will improve the practice of medicine in this country.
Hey, I have a suggestion they can consider: Why don’t we start with less regulation?
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.