U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., says a shortage of chemotherapy drugs and other vital medications is getting worse.
Earlier this year, the Minnesota Democrat introduced the "Preserving Access to Life-Saving Medications Act." The bill would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more authority to prevent and manage shortages of prescription drug medications.
Klobuchar promoted the legislation during a news conference in Minneapolis Friday. She said shortages of medically necessary drugs reached a record high last year.
"We're up to 178 drug shortages just from last year. That was nearly three times the amount of drugs that were in shortage just five years ago," Klobuchar said. "I just talked to two pharmacists that were here at Children's Hospital. They said it's gotten worse and worse and worse."
Klobuchar's bill would require drug companies to notify the FDA immediately when there's a production problem with a drug that could lead to a shortage.
"By having these drug companies be required to alert the FDA immediately when they see a potential problem, it allows the FDA to find alternative sources for the drugs and tell them they need to beef up their supply," she said. "That just isn't happening now and it's very sporadic."