Higher prices could be the solution to frequent shortages of certain drugs, the head of the nation’s drug regulation agency said Nov. 16.

Scott Gottlieb is calling for higher reimbursement rates for drugs used in common medical procedures, such as intravenous fluids or other cheap sterile injectable products. The idea may sound counterintuitive because talk about drug prices typically focuses on the blockbuster therapies that are too expensive.

“We’ve seen underinvestment in this space, and that’s led to a very...