Re: “Commentary: Collins’ bill fails to address root cause of drug shortages” (Nov. 16):

Health care providers throughout Maine are experiencing critical prescription drug shortages that jeopardize patient care. And, while local hospitals are doing what they can to mitigate the impact of shortages, truly addressing drug shortages requires a comprehensive solution. Why? Because, as the Food and Drug Administration has noted, the causes of shortages are multifactorial and require a multi-stakeholder solution. Thankfully, Sen. Susan Collins has been working tirelessly to provide such a solution, introducing legislation called the MEDS (Mitigating Emergency Drug Shortages) Act.

The MEDS Act will give the FDA additional authority to address drug shortages, increase manufacturing reporting requirements and develop new market-based incentives to help ensure a stable supply of critical prescription drugs. This bipartisan legislation, which has broad support from hospitals, physicians, pharmacists and other supply chain stakeholders, will provide much-needed relief to Mainers struggling to access their medications.

As the sourcing and purchasing partners to America’s health care providers, group purchasing organizations are on the front lines of the drug shortage fight, working collaboratively with hospitals, physicians, manufacturers, distributors and government agencies to ensure that patients have access to the life-saving drugs they need. Group purchasing organizations help hospitals source and safely migrate to alternate products when shortages arise, track data on potential shortages, communicate with suppliers about product demand, evaluate supplier reliability when awarding contracts and allow suppliers to adjust contract prices when they experience production disruptions.

We applaud Sen. Collins for her leadership on drug shortages and strongly support the MEDS Act.

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