Biden Adds to Americans’ Anxiety as Medicine Shortages and Quality Issues Persist

Credit: shutterstock

The Biden administration has assembled a task force made up of leaders of the pharmaceutical industry to address the growing problem with drug shortages and chronic problems with the safety of drugs. According to Bloomberg Law, Americans are struggling to find basic medicines like antibiotics, and they worry about the safety of medicines as some, such as eye drops, have been found to be tainted. The Biden administration first began addressing the supply chain problem in 2021, but since the issue has not improved since then, the administration is pushing for more change. 

The group leading the effort is the Domestic Policy Council and National Economic Council, with Susan Rice, Biden’s top domestic policy adviser, leading the team. Rice, however, will be leaving her position later this month. The team has failed to finalize any plans the government could execute to correct the issues, and some claim it was because they have not been able to come to a consensus with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Two people who spoke on anonymity from the group explained that the FDA has refused to fully answer questions and suggested that they lack funding to be able to make certain changes. 


Bloomberg Law reports, “An FDA official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the agency has been cooperating with the White House but can’t fix the supply problems alone because larger market forces are driving generic drugmakers out of business, contributing to shortages. The companies that buy drugs in bulk pit manufacturers against each other and drive down prices, which shrinks drugmakers’ margins, the official said. This leaves manufacturers with little money to maintain robust supply chains or, in some cases, keep making drugs at all. Another FDA official said the agency has suggested generic drugmakers need incentives such as tax breaks to boost US manufacturing.”

To help fix these problems, the White House group has met with leaders of the pharmaceutical industry including Mark Cuban’s discount drug company, Cost Plus Drugs, the head of pharmacy at NYU Langone Health and Valisure, an independent testing lab in Connecticut. 


The group has floated ideas of developing tools to foresee potential drug shortages, creating quality scores for manufacturing facilities, increasing unannounced inspections by the FDA, test imported products, and maintain electronic records. However, some have expressed concerns that such regulations would worsen the drug shortages. Still, the White House is hopeful that the pharmaceutical companies will cooperate on implementing new regulations to make them more responsible. 

Recommended For You