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ACS CAN Declares Support for Bill to Address Drug Shortage Crisis

September 23, 2011

WASHINGTON – September 23, 2011 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) today declared its support for the Preserving Access to Life-Saving Medications Act (S. 296 and H.R. 2245), which would give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the ability to require advance notification from drug manufacturers about factors that could lead to drug shortages that leave potentially lifesaving medicines out of reach for patients.

The bipartisan legislation, which was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Bob Casey (D-PA) and in the House by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO) and Thomas Rooney (R-FL), addresses a critical and growing problem that is resulting in people with cancer and other life-threatening conditions being denied access to crucial medications.

“The availability of cancer drugs can mean the difference between life and death for many cancer patients,” wrote Christopher W. Hansen, president of ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, in a letter to the bill sponsors. “The current shortage of numerous cancer drugs is touching the lives of cancer patients every day, and we stand ready to work with you and your colleagues to identify solutions to this critical problem.”

The letter states that there are numerous factors contributing to the drug shortage crisis, including an inadequate supply of raw materials, insufficient manufacturing capacity, and myriad economic factors that cause companies to discontinue manufacturing certain drugs. In the letter to lawmakers, Hansen calls the legislation “an important first step” in addressing the problem.

“Advance notification to the FDA from industry about the potential suspension of drug production, an interruption in manufacturing, or other production adjustments that might lead to a shortage would put the FDA in a better position to track and manage potential drug shortages,” Hansen wrote. “Notification would also allow government, industry, providers and the public to more systematically analyze and understand the causes of specific drug shortages as they occur, and to develop appropriate real-time solutions that are also needed to address the ongoing acute problem that cancer patients are living with daily.”

The full letter is available online at

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

Steven Weiss or Alissa Havens
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Phone: (202) 661-5711 or (202) 661-5772
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