Doctors and patients across the U.S. are struggling to attain essential prescription drugs that are dangerously in short supply.
The list includes 178 drugs, antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs used to kill cancers and medicines that save lives in the emergency room.
President Obama signed an executive order giving the Food and Drug Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, more tools to police the problem.
"We're going to make sure that, if we find out that prices are being driven up because shortages are being made worse by manipulations of companies or distributors, that we are making sure that we stop those practices," Mr. Obama said.
Reports say the president also gave FDA and the Department of Justice more power to investigate the so-called gray market, where suppliers buy up drugs in short supply and then charge higher prices.
"When we look back at the last six years, since we have tracked shortages, we have not seen these levels. We have not seen anything near these levels." Capt. Valerie Jensen, Food and Drug Administration.
1. What is a prescription drug?
2. What is a shortage?
3. What is a generic drug?
1. What is the Food and Drug Administration? What are some of the agency's main responsibilities?
2. Why is there a shortage of prescription drugs in the U.S.?
Obama Orders FDA to Zero In on Drug Shortage Crisis :
Drug Prices Soar as Hospital Suppliers are Forced into 'Gray Market' :