January 25,2024

Wyden, Crapo Release Plan to Prevent and Mitigate Generic Drug Shortages

New Committee white paper outlines policy options under Medicare and Medicaid for bipartisan legislation

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, today announced their commitment to working on bipartisan health care legislation to prevent and mitigate shortages of critical generic drugs used by patients and providers in the United States.

In a white paper released today, Wyden and Crapo outline concerns raised by experts at a hearing held in the Finance Committee on December 5, 2023, as well as areas of interest and ideas the Committee is exploring to address the factors contributing to shortages through modifications to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

“It is unacceptable that cancer patients and people suffering from chronic conditions in Oregon and across America are struggling to get lower cost, generic medication they need,” Wyden said. “Addressing the generic drug shortage crisis in Oregon and across America is urgent business, and Ranking Member Crapo and I are firmly committed to using the power of Medicaid and Medicare to do just that.”

“The recent surge in prescription drug shortages is fueling costs and restricting Americans’ access to life-saving medications,” Crapo said. “The Finance Committee should build upon our strong track record of bipartisan, solutions-oriented policymaking to provide Idahoans and Americans nationwide with better, more cost-effective health care.

The Committee is exploring the following areas for legislative development this year, as outlined in the white paper:

  • Medicare Part A and B payment reforms to stabilize supply of generic sterile injectable (GSIs) medicines;
  • New incentives for providers and other prescription drug supply chain stakeholders to engage in shortage prevention and mitigation activities, such as maintaining buffer inventory and developing sustainable contracts, and increasing supply chain stakeholder transparency;
  • Reforms or new pilot programs in Medicare Part D to bolster incentives for pharmacies to purchase generic medicines from drug manufacturers that invest in shortage mitigation, quality, and drug supply chain resilience; and 
  • Potential reforms to the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program targeting generic medicines in shortage.  

The white paper can be found here.