U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s Legislation to Tackle Drug Shortages, Improve Public Health Preparedness Advances Through Key Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. [8.4.23] –U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that two of her legislative priorities, aimed at addressing drug shortages and improving public health preparedness, took a major step forward. 

“Drug shortages are hurting patients, pharmacists, and physicians across the country,” said Senator Smith. “I have heard directly from Minnesotans who are facing shortages of ADHD medications like Adderall, cancer-fighting drugs for chemotherapy, among other things.  These drug shortages can be life-threatening, and I’ve made it a priority to tackle this problem. In addition, I’m focused on ensuring we are prepared for future public health threats. My bipartisan legislation will improve the FDA’s responsiveness when medication demand outpaces the supply, and help improve our ability to rapidly develop and distribute diagnostic tests in the event of a disease outbreak.  I’m glad to see these priorities included in this important legislation.”

The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Response Act is essential legislation that reauthorizes key public health and emergency preparedness programs. Current funding expires on September 30th.

Millions of Americans have been affected by shortages of chemotherapy drugs, commonly-used antibiotics, pediatric formulations of medications like ibuprofen, and other essential drugs. Pieces of Senator Smith’s legislation, which have been included in the reauthorization, will help address these shortages and bolster public health preparedness.

Senator Smith’s provisions include:

  • The Drug Shortage Prevention Act: Bipartisan legislation introduced with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The bill will prevent and mitigate shortages of both prescription and over-the-counter drugs by requiring manufacturers to notify the Food & Drug Administration when they are unlikely to be able to meet demand for the medications.
  • Improving Development and Distribution of Diagnostic Tests Act: Bipartisan legislation introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to create and regularly update a plan to develop and distribute diagnostic tests in response to infectious disease outbreaks and other public health threats. The bill also helps HHS contract with public and private entities to increase capacity for domestic manufacturing of diagnostic tests.