As Summer Tick Season Approaches, Klobuchar Calls On FDA to Take Immediate Action to Ease Shortage of Critical Lyme Disease Drug

By KBJR News

As Summer Tick Season Approaches, Klobuchar Calls On FDA to Take Immediate Action to Ease Shortage of Critical Lyme Disease Drug

May 24, 2013 Updated May 24, 2013 at 1:10 PM CDT

(NNCNOW.com) As the summer tick season approaches, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and other lawmakers called on the Food and Drug Administration to take action to reduce the shortage of Doxycyline, a critical drug used to treat infectious diseases such as Lyme Disease.

According to a news release:

In a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Klobuchar and fellow senator Susan Collins (R-ME) urged the FDA to take all necessary steps to alleviate the shortage, especially as Lyme Disease is most commonly contracted during May and June during peak tick season.

Last year, Klobuchar and Collins’ bipartisan provisions to help prevent and improve responses to drug shortages were signed into law. The provisions require companies to give early warning notification to the FDA of any factor that may result in a drug shortage.

“As summer approaches, hospitals and doctors need to be ready to treat the rise in Lyme Disease cases,” Klobuchar said. “The FDA needs to do everything in their power to make sure patients and doctors have access to the medication they need.”

“According to our state epidemiologist, the number of Maine residents diagnosed with Lyme disease continues to increase each year,” said Senator Collins.  “The antibiotic Doxycyline is critically important for treating these patients, and it’s imperative that the FDA do all it can to help alleviate this shortage.”

Both Minnesota and Maine have high incidences of tick-borne illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2011, 96 percent of Lyme disease cases were reported from 13 states, including Minnesota and Maine. Nationally, almost 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported, making it the sixth most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States.

Klobuchar and Collins have long fought to prevent drug shortages to help protect patients and save lives. The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, signed into law last year, includes a bipartisan drug shortages agreement that Klobuchar and Collins helped forge that will require prescription drug manufacturers to give early notification to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of any incident that would likely result in a drug shortage. The bill also contained the Senators’ provisions directing the FDA to expedite inspections and reviews of manufacturing sites or new products that could be helpful in addressing a drug shortage, and require the FDA to keep detailed records of previous drug shortages and the actions taken to prevent them.