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News story on drug shortages


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We had a thread on shortages last week and today I came across this story on NPR.

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2011/10/04/140958404/shortages-lead-doctors-to-ration-critical-drugs

 

I wonder how many people are waiting for medication? Will this drive the cost up?

 

My sister already has to chose which prescriptions to fill for herself and her husband each month because the prices are so high.

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That story was heartbreaking. I was listening to it in the car with ds (15). I had heard from time to time about medication shortages but I didn't realize it was so widespread. I guess it's something we take for granted.

 

One thing that did anger me was that many of these drugs that are in short supply are generics. So because they aren't money makers they seem to be less important. It seems like everything has been corrupted by greed. I say that though with no solution. I just wish that life saving medicines would be an important thing to keep making.

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I would be all for some economic stimulus and job creation in the form of a government-funded lab to make medicines that do not have enough profitability to ensure sufficient supply from existing for-profit labs. We had experience with this years ago when our dd needed ACTH to stop infantile spasms. The first time she was on it as an infant--no problem. A year or two later it was an orphan drug and was rationed, but we were able to get it and it wasn't too expensive. The next time I think it was about $1000 per vial and we needed 5 for the course of treatment. Insurance paid. The next time it was $12k per vial. I think the last time I looked into it a course of treatment would cost over $100k. My doctor dad told me they used to treat ACTH like water because it was so plentiful. Not anymore. Thankfully the infantile spasms have not returned in the last 5 or 6 years and I hope we never see them again. The condition is terrible, the treatment is horrible (but it works), but now the treatment is essentially out of reach.

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Does your dh know why there are drug shortages?

 

Not my dh, my friends dh, and he says the reason is the drug came off patent and now there is no $$ in producing it. It is sad but a lot of times the drugs are about the $$ and not about helping the people.

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