Klobuchar touts legislation as experts warn of drug shortages

"The chance of medical error also rises," Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said during the call, "as providers are forced to use second- or third-tier drugs that they're less familiar with."

Klobuchar has introduced legislation that would require drugmakers to give the Food and Drug Administration early notification of any incident that could result in a drug shortage. The bill would also require the FDA to give "up-to-date, public notification of any shortage situation." 

"Right now, pharmacists and physicians are about the last to know that a shortage is coming," Klobuchar said. "Sometimes they find out just before a patient's treatment. That's just not right."

The industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has not taken position on the legislation.

PhRMA said in a statement that drugmakers already work with the FDA to coordinate access to medicines in case of a disaster.