Since the beginning of the year, a group of White House officials has been meeting frequently to increase the availability and quality of medications, according to several people familiar with the matter. The effort has intensified as Americans struggle to find common drugs like
The Biden administration first set its sights on drug shortages and quality issues in 2021, as part of an effort to bring manufacturing back to the US that includes other industries. But fixing the drug supply chain has been particularly challenging, prompting a more serious push.
Rice, who is leaving her post later this month, asked the group to finalize proposals by early spring with tangible ideas that the US government could execute, according to one of the people. The group missed that timeline because they have struggled to reach a consensus with the Food and Drug Administration, said five people familiar with the talks.
Most of the people interviewed for this article spoke on condition of anonymity. Asked for comment, a senior Biden administration official said the White House team’s work is a continuation of the administration’s focus on ensuring resilience of the nation’s
Two people familiar with the group’s efforts said the FDA has refused to fully answer questions and suggested that the agency
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
Another FDA official said the agency has suggested generic drugmakers need incentives such as tax breaks to boost US manufacturing.
“We remain committed to partnering across government, academia, and industry to strengthen and diversify the supply chain, further address drug shortages and ensure Americans continue to have access to drugs that are of high quality, safe and effective,” the FDA said in a statement.
To fix these problems, the White House group has met with a variety of players including
Among the ideas the White House is looking at are: developing tools that could foresee potential drug shortages before they start, creating quality scores for manufacturing facilities, increasing the FDA’s unannounced inspections, robust testing of imported products, and requiring foreign manufacturers to keep electronic records instead of paper ones, since those can be destroyed.
After Bloomberg News reported details of the White House effort, the director of government affairs at
The White House team has met with other drug industry executives, three people familiar with the matter said. Teva’s Chief Executive Officer
The pharmaceutical supply chain is uniquely hard for the government to change in part because the US has taken a hands-off approach to drug manufacturing for so many years.
“There’s a lot of resistance in the industry to more transparency or anything that requires more cost in this low-margin business,” said Elisabeth Reynolds, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology lecturer and former special assistant to Biden for manufacturing and economic development at the National Economic Council. “We have to find ways to provide incentives to invest in quality, or put in place requirements to make them responsible for quality.”
The White House team is preparing to present leadership with solutions in coming weeks, according to a person familiar with the matter. A senior administration official said the group’s work will continue after Rice’s departure later this month.
Rice is being replaced by
(Updates with industry reaction from 14th paragraph.)
To contact the reporters on this story:
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
© 2023 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.