The increasing shortage of drugs to treat diseases such as cancer, heart disease, ADHD, septic shock and cystic fibrosis is pushing hospitals to search for substitutes to prevent delay in patients' treatment.
Hospitals are more frequently facing delay in treatment due to shortage of drugs. Doctors are concerned that some important drugs shortages can lead even death.
211 drugs were listed as in short supply in 2010, a whopping 3 times more than the 2006 figure.
While several of those have been resolved, another 89 drug shortages have happened in the first three months of this year, according to the University of Utah's Drug Information Service.
Pharmacists list the following reasons for shortage in drugs:
* Product recalls
* Contaminated vials
* Difficulties in importing certain raw materials
* Demand fluctuations
* Production plants being upgraded (and closed while the upgrade is being carried out)
For more expensive drugs, the shortage in supply was less likely to happen since more companies wanted to produce them to make higher margins and profits.
Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health Clinical Manager, pharmacist Carol Miller mentioned in a recent interview:
As a pharmacist working for 20-some years, I've seen shortages, but nothing with the numbers of drugs out there that are short at this time.
Miller thinks the recent global economic recession has influenced drug supplies since drug makers drop productions of low margin drugs in economic crisis.
However, current federal regulations such as FDA inspections or stockpiling allow generic makers to respond rapidly to drug shortages.
Lawmakers are looking closely into the issue. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., is advising the Federal Trade Commission investigate if any pending drug-company mergers would add to the problem.