Gillibrand wants alerts on drug shortages

Sen. KirstenGillibrand wants to stop future shortages of cancer drugs by requiring the manufacturers to give six months' notice before supplies run scarce, saying not doing so puts patients in danger.

Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) urged the Senate to pass a bill, expected to come up for a vote this week, that would require drug manufacturers to alert the Federal Drug Administration of impending shortages six months beforehand.

"Parents should not have to worry and wait in line for lifesaving medicines that they desperately need," Gillibrand said Sunday at a news conference in her Manhattan office.

She also voiced support for legislation that would hold manufacturers accountable by fining them $10,000 a day and up to $1.8 million for failing to report a drug shortage.

Called the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, the bill would also expedite a backlog of generic drugs awaiting FDA approval.

Cancer drugs such as daunorubicin, used to treat childhood leukemia, and doxorubicin, used to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia, are now in short supply. They are two of 100 drug shortages reported so far this year, Gillibrand said.

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