Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events
Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

  • McClellan notes that the FDA under a Biden administration could continue working with "many hospitals that are implementing new ways of purchasing drugs to have more reliable supply and avoiding those big price jumps for important generic drugs."

His bottom line: The former commissioner adds that the COVID-19 pandemic offers an in-the-moment opportunity for officials to reform America's health care system.

  • "I think there's some real opportunities to leverage the challenges that we've seen in health care affordability and, I'd add to that, access during the pandemic as we head out of it and not go back to the system that we had before. That includes uncoordinated and often high drug prices."

Watch the event.

Go deeper