Senator Collins & MaineHealth’s Chief Pharmacy Officer Shine National Spotlight on Growing Crisis of Drug Shortages

Last week, Senator Collins introduced a bipartisan bill to help improve the availability of lifesaving medications

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Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ remarks


Washington, D.C.—Drug shortages can have severe health consequences for patients by delaying or even cancelling procedures until medication becomes available.  In 2018, there were more than 200 drug shortages in the U.S., and that number has continued to increase this year.  


Senator Collins has been contacted by numerous constituents who have been affected by this persistent issue.  For instance, a kidney and bladder cancer patient recently called Senator Collins’ Portland office about a lack of BCG.  He received several treatments, went into remission, and then was declined additional preventive treatments that his doctor recommended due to this shortage. 


At a briefing on Capitol Hill this morning, U.S. Senator Susan Collins and MaineHealth Chief Pharmacy Officer Brian Marden, Pharm.D., called attention to this growing crisis – and highlighted the importance of passing the Mitigating Emergency Drug Shortages (MEDS) Act, bipartisan legislation Senator Collins introduced last week with Senator Tina Smith (D-MN).


“I often hear from hospitals, physicians, and patients who find themselves caught in the middle of a drug shortage, with very little certainty of when the problem might be resolved,” said Senator Collins. “The bipartisan MEDS Act I introduced would help increase the supplies of vital drugs needed to treat or prevent a wide variety of diseases, illnesses, and conditions.  I appreciate Brian taking the time to participate in today’s briefing to share his expertise on this important issue.”


Drug shortages add $230 million a year to U.S. drug costs and $216 million a year in increased labor costs since medical professionals must spend time identifying an alternative source of medication.  Dr. Marden shared MaineHealth’s experiences creating action plans and alternative treatment approaches to ensure patients receive the highest quality care because medication supply across the country continues to be highly unreliable. 


“Drug shortages, unfortunately, remain a significant barrier in delivering optimal and safe patient care,” Dr. Marden said.  “It is critically important to share these challenges and continuously educate so that we can advance national strategies that have a true impact on remedying drug shortages and lead to a more predictable and sustainable drug supply in this country.”


Click HERE to read more about Senator Collins’ MEDS Act.