Reuters

(Reuters)

Obama to Take Executive Action on Drug Shortages

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President Barack Obama will sign an executive order Monday aimed at easing shortages of prescription drugs, according to a White House House official.

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The official said the order would direct the Food and Drug Administration "to take action to help further reduce and prevent drug shortages, protect consumers and prevent price gouging."

The signing of the order is scheduled for 12:20 p.m. EDT. Obama is also expected to give his support to legislation pending in the House and Senate that would give the FDA new tools to prevent drug shortages.

The prescription drug order is the latest in a series of actions Obama is taking that do not require congressional approval. Obama, who is trying to pressure Republicans to drop their resistance to his $447 billion jobs package, has promised to take new executive actions on the economy each week.

Struggling with weak poll numbers of around 44 percent that could jeopardize his hopes for re-election in 2012, Obama wants to show U.S. voters he is acting to help the economy even if he is having difficulty passing legislation.

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(Writing by Caren Bohan; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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