Obama Directs FDA Help Ease Drug Shortages

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President Barack Obama is expected to sign an executive order on Monday, directing the Food and Drug Administration to take action to reduce the nation's drug shortages.

A White House official said the president will also be throwing his support behind House and Senate measures requiring drug makers to alert the FDA six months before a potential shortage.

Drug shortages put the lives of many patients at risk and raise the possibility of price gouging. 

In 2010, the FDA reported 178 drug shortages, including some cancer drugs, anesthetics and drugs needed in emergency rooms.

Monday's directive is the latest move by the White House to push through initiatives without having to get congressional approval.

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