On May 5, 2015, the United States Senate, Caucus on International Narcotics Control held a hearing exploring the findings and recommendations of a Government Accountability Office investigation into the Drug Enforcement Administration’s management of its quota process. The hearing, called by Senators Grassley and Feinstein, sought to explore the connection between DEA’s quota process and pharmaceutical drug shortages in the United States.
At the hearing, DEA and the Food and Drug Administration announced that the agencies recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate collaboration between the agencies, including greater information sharing. While the hearing was generally cordial, Senator Whitehouse did press DEA on its historic failures to issue quota in a timely manner. Senator Whitehouse questioned whether DEA was able to effectively manage its administrative and regulatory responsibilities and whether those functions should be transferred out of DEA. Specifically, Senator Whitehouse noted that “dissatisfaction with DEA’s level of capability and performance as an administrative regulator runs very deep and is very broad” and that DEA is running the risk of losing bi-partisan support on Capitol Hill.