President Obama yesterday signed an executive order intended to help the FDA deal with shortages of crucial drugs by spotting them as they develop.
Legislation to do that has been stalled in Congress, despite bipartisan support. For people like Roxanne Cousins of Arkansas, the new directive means a lot:
I am an ovarian cancer patient am currently able to get my chemotherapy but am uncertain about what is around the corner, as we often become resistant and have to switch drugs in order to get any benefit. I personally know women who are looking in other countries for their life-saving chemo, two that I know of are flying back and forth to FRANCE to get their treatments, as their particular drug is completely unavailable. Yet we slander France, Canada, Britain and other countries for their socialized and supposed “waiting list” medical system.
This does tie in to Wall Street/corporate greed and this is KILLING people. I have heard that a gray market has emerged in which middlemen are speculating on and buying up these drugs, creating a shortfall, then selling them back to hospitals and medical facilities for huge profits (hundred of percentages above normal). This could only happen in a country that has thumbed its nose at any sort of rules or limitations on companies profiting in excess no matter what the cost, even if it involves people dying. There are millions of us and our families who are suffering with difficult diagnoses - we never expected to not be able to get drugs that were at on time readily available.
The new executive order also directs the FDA to work with the Justice Department to investigate whether it’s true that investors are hoarding the medicines so they profit from a shortage. This is not a situation, as Rachel said last night, where patients can wait for the free market to sort out supply and demand or suspicion and fact.