Prescription Drug Shortage in U.S.- critical shortage of lifesaving medications « Health Insurance Advisory

Prescription Drug Shortage in U.S.- critical shortage of lifesaving medications

Author: Pete S - Sr. Staff Writer | Aug 28 2011 | Prescription Drug Card

Critical shortages of lifesaving prescription drugs are creating problems for doctors and hospitals in the U.S. This is resulting in delayed patient treatment and limiting the medicines doctors can prescribe and the anesthetics they can use to perform surgery.

In the past few weeks, several pharmaceutical giants have warned doctors not to start patients on some medicines because they can’t guarantee a steady supply. Some hospitals have even begun rationing some vital drugs. The Food and Drug Administration has reported at least 180 drugs in short supply.

The prescription drugs in short supply are often given by injection or intravenously to patients in the hospital and are prescribed for a wide range of medical problems including cancer, allergies, heart disease and infectious diseases. Shortages involve some anesthetics for patients having surgery and drugs for emergencies: such as epinephrine injections used to restart the heart and electrolytes for patients fed intravenously.

The FDA says the problems mainly stem from manufacturing issues, such as drug production temporarily shut down because the plant wasn’t sterile. Sometimes, though, the shortages are tied to disruptions in the supply of raw materials or to increased demand for some drugs. And, the FDA says, some companies have simply stopped making older, less profitable drugs, particularly older sterile injectable drugs.

If you are paying for expensive medications out of your pocket, then learn about a prescription drug plan. This very affordable program can help cover some of your out of pocket cost and is an alternative to those who do not have a medical insurance plan that covers prescription drugs.

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