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Drug Shortages Cut in Half in U.S. After New FDA Powers

New U.S. drug shortages have fallen by more than half this year after President Barack Obama gave regulators the power to head off potential scarcities, the head of the Food and Drug Administration said.

There have been 42 new shortages in 2012, compared with 90 at the same time last year, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said today on the agency’s website. Obama directed the FDA Oct. 31 to gather information earlier from drugmakers about potential shortages to help find alternate sources, increase production or start new manufacturing before patients’ lives are threatened.