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New GAO Reports – Drinking Water, Drug Shortages

  • DRINKING WATER – EPA Has Improved Its Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Program, but Additional Action Is Needed, GAO-14-103: Published: Jan 9, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 10, 2014. “Congress should consider amending the Safe Drinking Water Act to allow EPA to monitor for more than 30 contaminants under certain circumstances, and to adjust statutory time frames so UCMR data can inform regulatory determinations in the same cycle.”
  • DRUG SHORTAGES - Public Health Threat Continues Despite Efforts to Help Ensure Product Availability, GAO-14-194: Published: Feb 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 10, 2014. “The number of drug shortages remains high. Although reports of new drug shortages declined in 2012, the total number of shortages active during a given year—including both new shortages reported and ongoing shortages that began in a prior year—has increased since 2007. Many shortages are of generic sterile injectable drugs. Provider association representatives reported that drug shortages may force providers to ration care or rely on less effective drugs.”
  • DRUG SHORTAGES - Threat to Public Health Persists Despite Actions to Help Maintain Product Availability, GAO-14-339T: Published: Feb 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 10, 2014. “The immediate cause of drug shortages can generally be traced to a manufacturer halting or slowing production to address quality problems, triggering a supply disruption. Other manufacturers have a limited ability to respond to supply disruptions due to constrained manufacturing capacity. GAO also identified potential underlying causes specific to the economics of the generic sterile injectable drug market, including that low profit margins have limited infrastructure investments or led some manufacturers to exit the market.”

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