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American Society of Hematology joins European Hematology Association, Patient Groups in Issuing International Call to Action to Alleviate Drug Shortages

AMSTERDAM, June 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Society of Hematology (ASH) joined the European Hematology Association (EHA) and the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC) today in issuing a common call to action in an effort to mitigate shortages of hematologic drugs in the United States and around the world. The collective made the announcement today following the EHA-ASH Joint Symposium at the 17th EHA Congress in Amsterdam, a portion of which was dedicated to addressing the drug shortage crisis.

The common call to action seeks first to raise awareness of shortages of drugs among hematologists. Shortages of drugs worldwide have particularly affected ASH and EHA member hematologists and their patients since the drugs most vulnerable to shortages – older, generic sterile injectibles – are the ones used to treat blood disorders. At one point in 2011 more than 200 drugs were reported to be in shortage in the United States, several dozen of which had a critical impact on the delivery of care for patients with hematologic disorders.

The international collaborative will also collect data on current drug shortages and report it to their health authorities. ASH, EHA, and ECPC will issue reports to their respective government authorities about current drug shortages in an effort to bolster the supply of critically needed drugs in the most efficient, effective manner. For the past 18 months ASH has collected data on hematologic drug shortages in the United States, posted it to a special drug shortages portal on its website, and regularly reported data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Finally, the collaborative pledged to support legislation in the United States, Europe, and around the world that provides clear, effective interventions to alleviate drug shortages. In the United States, legislation that takes a first step toward addressing current drug shortages that would require manufacturers to provide early warning of anticipated drug shortages is being finalized by Congress.

"Over the past 18 months, ASH has been a leader in advocating for immediate, actionable solutions to the drug shortage crisis in the United States, and our advocacy has had impact," said ASH President Armand Keating, MD, of the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. "We now look forward to working with our international partners to make strides around the globe to curb shortages and protect the health of patients with blood disorders worldwide."

The American Society of Hematology is the world's largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood disorders. Its mission is to further the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems by promoting research, clinical care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. The official journal of ASH is Blood, the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online.

SOURCE American Society of Hematology
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