USP, ACS-CAN and Leading Health Advocacy Groups Call on Capitol Hill to End Drug Shortages

Patients, clinicians and healthcare industry professionals shared first-hand experiences on how drug shortages have impacted them and why Congress must act now

Rockville, MD, March 19, 2024 — U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), an independent, international and scientific nonprofit organization, and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS-CAN), the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill today about drug shortages and offered recommendations to tackle the crisis. Drug shortages have reached their highest levels in five years, affecting all classes of drugs.

Analysis leveraging USP’s Medicine Supply Map, a tool that uses advanced analytics and machine learning to predict and quantify shortage risk, indicates that 54 percent of drug shortages in 2023 have lasted more than two years.

“The time for action is now to address the systemic issue of drug shortages,” said Ron Piervincenzi, chief executive officer at USP. “The only way to truly tackle drug shortages is to take comprehensive steps to strengthen the global medicines supply chain, including addressing fundamental dynamics to make the market for generic medicines more sustainable.”

Speakers, including patients, clinicians, and health systems representatives, called for actions to identify and respond to the risks and vulnerabilities in the medicines supply chain to ensure patients have access to medications they need, when they need them.

“The shortage of key cancer drugs continues to be a life-threatening issue for cancer patients all over the country,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “Our data shows that one in every 10 cancer patients and survivors has been impacted by today’s shortages with those covered by Medicaid twice as likely to be affected. It’s critical that Congress prioritizes the issue and works to advance a comprehensive solution that tackles both the current problem as well as the long-term issues that perpetuate the cycle of drug shortages that interfere with patients’ access to the drugs they need.”

To advance the conversation on drug shortages to action, USP, ACS-CAN and 14 other organizations have signed on to a Call-to-Action – a suite of options designed to urge Congress to create meaningful reform to prevent and mitigate shortages – enabling patient access to a consistent supply of quality medicines. These include:

  1. Coordinate pharmaceutical supply chain resilience and reliability efforts among federal agencies and non-governmental stakeholders.
  2. Increase pharmaceutical supply chain visibility by investing in early warning capabilities that signal threats and vulnerabilities.
  3. Establish a Vulnerable Medicines List in the U.S., which factors in pharmaceutical supply chain vulnerabilities.
  4. Align the U.S. market to incentivize pharmaceutical supply chain quality, resilience, and reserves for drugs vulnerable to shortages.
  5. Bolster manufacturing capacity for U.S. drug products through policy reforms that reduce risk of disruptions and shortages.
  6. Research to better understand the root causes of and the market dynamics associated with persistent drug shortages in the U.S.

The organizations who have signed onto this Call-To-Action represent the breadth of those impacted by drug shortages and include the Alliance for Aging Research, Angels for Change, American Pharmacists Association (APhA), American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Arthritis Foundation, Cancer Support Community, Friends of Cancer Research, Alliance for Patient Access, Hemophilia Federation of America (HFA), Howard University College of Pharmacy, Susan G. Komen Foundation, National Consumers League (NCL), and the National Psoriasis Foundation.

The diversity of these organizations within the task force demonstrates the far-reaching impact drug shortages have and reinforces the urgent need to address this issue so that all patients with any condition can access lifesaving and life-sustaining treatment when they need it.

For more information and to read the full Call-To-Action, visit:

About USP:

USP is an independent scientific organization that collaborates with the world's top experts in health and science to develop quality resources and standards for medicines, dietary supplements and food ingredients. This includes actively collaborating with academic research centers, industry, and regulators to help with the adoption and implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies. Through our resources, standards, advocacy and education, USP helps increase the availability of quality medicines, supplements and foods for billions of people worldwide. For more information, visit:

Media Contact:
Nazila Fathi (she/her)

About ACS-CAN:

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone. We engage our volunteers across the country to make their voices heard by policymakers at every level of government. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We stand with our volunteers, working to make cancer a top priority for policymakers in cities, states and our nation’s capital. Join the fight by visiting

Media Contact:
Taylor Hall, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)