FTC gives blessing to drug shortage effort

A plan by drugmakers to help the FDA solve drug shortages by pooling information about who produces what drugs is close to fruition now that the Federal Trade Commission has given its approval to antitrust safeguards. The Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) says it is working with the FDA to tidy up details and select the drugs on which the program will initially gather information. The FTC says that although the information manufacturers will share could be misused to manipulate prices, the GPhA's plan to have IMS Health collect and analyze the information independent of the association alleviates the concerns that the information could be shared among drugmakers. Both makers of generic and branded drugs will be able to participate voluntarily. The Accelerated Recovery Initiative was conceived last year when drug shortages hit a new high of 250 from just 56 in 2006. The group knew that with the information the FDA would know who to turn to for added capacity in cases of drug shortages but also worried about the anti-trust implications of sharing the information so created the third-party system and sought an FTC opinion. Story | More

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