HDA Issues Policy Platform Addressing Drug Shortages

March 04, 2024

The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) and its pharmaceutical distributor members today released a policy agenda to combat drug shortages. HDA’s recommendations center around three core themes: federal coordination, strategic investment and end-to-end stabilization of the generic drug supply chain.

“The root causes of drug shortages are varied and complex, requiring distinct approaches and mitigation strategies. As a vital link between 1,500 upstream manufacturers and approximately 330,000 downstream providers, distributors have a unique vantage point that not only helps to minimize the impact of shortages as they occur, but also translates into common-sense policy solutions,” said Nicolette Louissaint, PhD, Senior Vice President, Policy and Strategic Planning, HDA. “HDA and its distributor members are committed to working collaboratively with supply chain partners and policymakers to develop solutions that will have the most significant impact on the health of patients.”

HDA’s “Policy Agenda on Drug Shortages” recommends developing solutions that bolster resilience and protect the integrity of the supply chain. Below is an overview of the association’s recommendations.

  • Federal coordination — Supply chain partners working collaboratively with federal agencies could help improve the understanding and visibility of supply and demand challenges. These partnerships can also mitigate the impact of drug shortages.
  • Strategic investment — Federal investments in manufacturing and inventory will help diversify the pharmaceutical supply chain for products that support national security while decreasing the risk of a drug shortage.
  • End-to-end stabilization of the generic supply chain — Economic policies to address drug shortages should prevent market failures, alleviate rebate obligations and inflation penalties, and adjust reimbursement policies.

While only one percent of drugs are impacted by shortages, when they do occur, they pose challenges to the entire supply chain — and most importantly, the providers and patients it ultimately serves. HDA’s proposed policy platform is designed to address this dynamic environment to ensure lifesaving medicines are available when needed.

HDA, with the guidance and expertise of its members, also developed a set of guiding principles to inform how distributors approach policies and leading practices related to drug shortages. Read the guiding principles here.

Background Materials
Drug Shortages Overview
Fact Sheet: “Drug and Medical Product Availability”

About HDA

The Healthcare Distribution Alliance (HDA) represents primary pharmaceutical distributors — the vital link between the nation’s pharmaceutical manufacturers and pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and others nationwide. Since 1876, HDA has helped members navigate regulations and innovations to get the right medicines to the right patients at the right time, safely and efficiently. The HDA Research Foundation, HDA’s nonprofit charitable foundation, serves the healthcare industry by providing research and education focused on priority healthcare supply chain issues.