U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar was in Duluth today Saturday encourage passage of a bill that would attempt to address a shortage in prescription medications.
Klobuchar says there were nearly 180 drug shortages last year, including drugs to treat allergies, cancer, and heart attacks.
The senator introduced a bill earlier this week that would require pharmaceutical companies to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration six months notice of approaching shortages.
"We'd be requiring them to let the FDA know if there is any interruption or adjustments if there's an issue with raw materials running out," she said. "And this isn't the kind of thing where we're actually getting and micro-managing a company, we're just requiring notice. A lot of regulations in other areas require notice if something is going to be disrupted that will in any way harm the public health."
Klobuchar says, so far, pharmaceutical companies are working with her on the bill.
The six-month notice would allow the FDA to find other manufacturers for drugs in short supply, or allow the agency to try to re-import the drugs from other countries, she said.
Medications in short supply include morphine for pain relief, propofol for sedation, and leucovrin for cancer.