U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she'll introduce legislation next session to address a growing, nationwide shortage of some medicines.
Earlier this month, MPR News reported that doctors and pharmacists in Minnesota were struggling to find several commonly-used chemotherapy drugs. Klobuchar said one idea is to require drug makers to notify the Food and Drug Administration when they expect shortages.
"If they were stopping manufacturing a drug, or if they were slowing production, or if they were having a problem getting raw materials; so that's one approach to just try to require some sort of an early notice in certain instances," Klobuchar said. "So that the FDA can then go looking for other drugs to fill the gap."
Klobuchar also said that one way to deal with the problem is to import drugs from Canada and other countries.
"It's something that Gov. Pawlenty has supported and incoming Gov. Dayton has supported," she said. I've certainly been a supporter and will be introducing a bill this year to allow for these safe drugs to come in to bring prices down."
But Klobuchar said even if that doesn't happen that the FDA should at least be able to on a quicker basis to get the drugs to fill in the gap.
The FDA currently lists 150 important drugs that are in short supply. That's double the number from five years ago. They range from morphine to cancer medication.
Klobuchar, a DFLer, also said that she'd be "humbled to represent Minnesota" and serve another term. She said she's focused on Minnesota, and not campaigning, right now however.
"My job is to get things done in this very tumultuous time," Klobuchar said. "[And] to work with our companies in Minnesota; to work on behalf of the people of our state, either because they're not getting their cancer drugs or because they're not getting their veteran's benefits."
Klobuchar said that's been in the hallmark of the work she's done in putting Minnesota first in Washington.