The Obama Administration has issued an interim final rule to help prevent prescription drug shortages in the US.
The rule will require manufacturers that are the sole producer of certain critical drugs to report all interruptions in manufacturing of products to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
According to government, this will help reduce and prevent drug shortages, protect consumers, and prevent the stockpiling and exorbitant pricing of drugs in shortage.
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, "Today’s action is the latest in a series of proactive efforts we have undertaken to combat shortages of critical medicine the American people depend upon."
On 31 October 2011 the FDA issued a letter to all pharmaceutical manufacturers reminding them of their responsibility to report the discontinuation of certain drugs.
The letter also encouraged manufacturers to voluntarily tell the FDA about potential prescription drug shortages in cases where disclosure is not currently required by law.
Since the order, the FDA has reportedly prevented 96 drug shortages – 86 of which were from one firm.
Prior to 31 October, the number of shortages prevented since January 2010 was 137, bringing the total number of shortages prevented in the past two years to 233.