Transcript: Rep. Elijah Cummings’ statement on the drug shortage crisis

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

“Drug Shortage Crisis: Lives are in the Balance” hearing held on Nov. 30, 2011 by the Subcommittee on Health Care, District of Columbia, Census, and the National Archives

Transcript of opening statement by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.):

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). IMAGE SOURCE:

“Thank you very much, Chairman [Trey] Gowdy and Ranking Member [Danny] Davis. I want to thank you for holding today’s hearing.

“Given the impact that the ongoing drug shortage is having on patients and health care providers, this is exactly the type of issue this committee should be examining.

“In 2010, the FDA reported 178 drug shortages and that number has increased in 2011.

“In October, President Obama issued an executive order urging manufacturers to notify FDA of potential drug shortages so they could work with health care providers and patients to prevent or mitigate shortages before they become a crisis.

“It is unclear exactly what is causing the drug shortages. Experts believe there may be a number of causes ranging from inadequate financial incentives for manufacturers, problems with production lines, and challenges in obtaining needed supplies.

“I look forward to hearing the perspectives of today’s witnesses on these very significant issues.

“Although today’s hearing is a step in the right direction, unfortunately we do not have the benefit of hearing testimony from any of the drug manufacturers. And I echo what Mr. [Danny] Davis said – these folks are the ones who produce these critical drugs that are now in short supply. If we had them here, we could have asked what they believe are the causes of the crisis, and we could have asked their opinion about specific factors that contribute to the insufficient supply of these drugs.

“Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to hear what you just said with regard to looking forward to future hearings where perhaps we can call some of those folks. So we might do what you said even earlier, and that was that we would lay our political hats down at the door and attack this crisis with everything that we have and on a bipartisan basis.

“Finally, let me note that I began my own investigation this summer into a related issue, which is the sale of gray market drugs.

“When hospitals and other providers cannot obtain drugs on the shortage list from their authorized distributors, they sometimes turn to so-called ‘gray market’ distributors. These companies mysteriously always seem to have the products available but at wildly exorbitant prices.

“We are still in the initial stages of this investigation so I will withhold comment for now. But I think we can all agree that nobody should be allowed to profiteer at the expense of cancer victims or other patients who are in dire need of these life-saving medications.

“So, Mr. Chairman, I hope we will be able to address some of these issues at a later hearing as well.”



Learn More:

3 Comments on “Transcript: Rep. Elijah Cummings’ statement on the drug shortage crisis

  1. Pingback: Transcript: Testimony of Dr. Kasey Thompson on the drug shortage crisis | What The Folly?!

  2. Pingback: Transcript: Testimony of Dr. Michelle Hudspeth on the drug shortage crisis | What The Folly?!

  3. Pingback: Transcript: Testimony of Ted Okon on the drug shortage crisis | What The Folly?!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.