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Drug Shortages Hinder US Medical Care

Monday, 02 May 2011 08:46 AM

If you are in an accident or stricken with a serious illness, will the drugs you need be available?

They may not be. Last year, 211 medications became scarce in the United States, and through the end of March of this year at least 89 new medication shortages have been recorded, according to a report in The Washington Post.

As a result, some medical centers are rationing drugs, postponing surgeries, and struggling to find substitute medications that can be less effective and sometimes risky.

“It’s a crisis,” Erin R. Fox, manager of the drug information service at the University of Utah, who monitors drug shortages for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, tells The Washington Post. “Patients are at risk.”

What’s causing the shortages? Experts say that the consolidation of pharmaceutical manufacturers has left only a few making older, less profitable products. That means when raw materials run low and equipment woes occur, problems can rapidly turn into drug shortages.

“It seems like there were a lot of things happening with consolidations and quality issues and more things coming from overseas,” said Allen J. Vaida, executive director of the Institute for Safe Medicine Practices, a nonprofit group that helped organize a conference last fall to examine the issue. “It just reached a point where the number of shortages was slowly going up and up, and now we have a national crisis with this huge shortage of critical medications.”

To read the complete Washington Post story, Go Here Now.

© HealthDay

 
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