JUST MORE WORDS: Drug Shortages

- October 31, 2011

Obama Ignores Years Of Headlines Warning About Drug Shortages; Finally Decides To Look Like He’s Doing Something For Political Expediency

 “Obama To Sign Prescription Drug Executive Order.” (Ann Compton, “Obama To Sign Prescription Drug Executive Order,” ABC News’ Political Punch, 10/31/11)


February 7, 2009: “Cancer Patients’ New Worry: Drug Shortage.” “A drug shortage has been keeping many colon-cancer patients in Central Florida and nationwide from getting a medicine that boosts the effectiveness of their chemotherapy.” (Robyn Shelton, “Cancer Patients’ New Worry: Drug Shortage,” Orlando Sentinel, 2/7/09)

August 4, 2010: “Institute For Safe Medication Practices: Drug Shortages ‘Unprecedented.’” “‘Many people are telling me that in 30 years, it’s the worst they’ve ever seen it,’ says Michael Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medical Practices. He’s talking about drug shortages, which pharmacists, doctors and nurses are telling him are at unprecedented levels. An ISMP Medication Safety Alert newsletter published last week reported on the problem, saying emergency drugs, pain medications and anesthetic agents are particularly affected.” (Katherine Hobson, “Institue For Safe Medication Practices: Drug Shortages ‘Unprecedented,’” The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog,  8/4/10)

October 1, 2010: “Drug Shortage Causes Alarm.” “A shortage of crucial drugs has led to a national public health concern that is frustrating doctors and could make operating rooms riskier places. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a pharmacist and several anesthesiologists agree it's the worst shortage of critical drugs in many years.” (Sonya Colberg, “Some Of The Medications In Critically Low Supply Are Crucial In Operating Rooms; Drug Shortage Causes Alarm,” The Oklahoman, 10/1/10)

December 12, 2010: “Critical U.S. Drug Shortage Worsening.” “The nation is facing an unprecedented drug shortage. From cancer treatments to surgical sedatives to standard emergency-room remedies, the pharmaceutical supply cabinet is increasingly bare of the drugs of choice, according to doctors, advocacy groups, and the FDA. (Christopher K. Hepp, “Critical U.S. Drug Shortage Worsening,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/12/10)

February 21, 2011: “Drug Shortages Hit Hospitals.” “Hospitals across the country are running out of key drugs used in surgeries and to treat some diseases, including cancer, causing doctors to turn to older treatments.” (Bruce Japsen, “Drug Shortages Hit Hospitals,” Los Angeles Times, 2/21/11)

March 10, 2011: “National Drug Shortage Has Houston Hospitals Scrambling.” “Houston hospitals are struggling to cope with an unprecedented national shortage of drugs that industry officials concede is putting public health - and lives - at risk. Hospital pharmacists and doctors in the Texas Medical Center said this week they are managing the crisis without incident so far, but acknowledged it's causing delays in procedures, the substitution of alternative medication and prioritizing which patients get the drugs in short supply.” (Todd Ackerman, “National Drug Shortage Has Houston Hospitals Scrambling,” Houston Chronicle, 3/10/11)

April 4, 2011: “Drug Shortages Forcing Risky Alternatives.” “Unprecedented shortages of injectable drugs have forced doctors to resort to medications that are less safe or postpone or cancel procedures, often at the last minute, according to the Food and Drug Administration and health care groups. Anesthesiology and oncology have been hit particularly hard. Last month, the only U.S. maker of Pentothal, used for 70 years to induce anesthesia, said it had abandoned plans to resume production, which it had halted a year and a half earlier.” (Rita Rubin, “Drug Shortages Forcing Risky Alternatives,” USA Today, 2/2/11)

May 1, 2011: “Shortages Of Key Drugs Endanger Patients.” “Doctors, hospitals and federal regulators are struggling to cope with an unprecedented surge in drug shortages in the United States that is endangering cancer patients, heart attack victims, accident survivors and a host of other ill people. A record 211 medications became scarce in 2010 — triple the number in 2006 — and at least 89 new shortages have been recorded through the end of March, putting the nation on track for far more scarcities.” (Rob Stein, “Shortages Of Key Drugs Endanger Patients,” The Washington Post, 5/1/11)

June 10, 2011: “Drug Shortages At All-Time High.” “The number of drug shortages is at a record high, and the Food and Drug Administration is warning that they are getting even worse.” (Parija Kavilanz, “Drug Shortages At All-Time High,” CNNMoney, 6/10/11)

August 17, 2011: “Scrambling For Cancer Drugs.” “Ellen McCarthy was scheduled to receive her monthly dose of an ovarian cancer drug at Massachusetts General Hospital last month when she got distressing news: The hospital had run out. There was a nationwide shortage of the drug, Doxil, but her medical team scrambled and after a few days of uncertainty located an extra vial at a clinic in suburban New York. The 60-year-old retiree drove with her husband and dog to Mount Kisco, N.Y., received the intravenous treatment, then headed back home to Martha’s Vineyard - a 10-hour round trip.” (Carolyn Y. Johnson, “Scrambling For Cancer Drugs,”Boston Globe, 8/17/11)

August 19, 2011: “U.S. Scrambling to Ease Shortage of Vital Medicine.” (Gardiner Harris, “U.S. Scrambling To Ease Shortage Of Vital Medicine,” The New York Times, 8/19/11)

August 21, 2011: “Critical Drugs In Short Supply.” “Record shortages of prescription drugs in the United States are forcing pharmacists and doctors to scramble to find medications for their patients, suitable alternatives or to delay potentially lifesaving treatments.” (Victoria Colliver, “Critical Drugs In Short Supply,” San Francisco Chronicle, 8/21/11)

August 25, 2011: “Drugs In Short Supply.” (Shelia M. Poole, “Drugs In Short Supply,” The Atlanta Journal- Constitution, 8/25/11)

August 26, 2011: “Cancer Drug Shortages Getting Worse, FDA Says.” “Since 2010, the number of drugs either in short supply or not available at all has risen dramatically, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.” (Steven Reinberg, “Cancer Drug Shortages Getting Worse, FDA Says,” USA Today, 8/26/11)

September 23, 2011: “Drug Shortages Blamed In At Least 15 Deaths.” “An Associated Press review of industry reports and interviews with nearly two dozen experts found at least 15 deaths in the past 15 months blamed on the shortages, either because the right drug wasn't available or because of dosing errors or other problems in administering or preparing alternative medications.” (“Drug Shortages Blamed In At Least 15 Deaths,” The Associated Press, 9/23/11)

October 14, 2011: “Authorities Perplexed By Drug Shortage Spike.” “Two years into an escalating shortage of life-saving cancer drugs, regulators and lawmakers are still unable to identify why it is happening, let alone how to solve the problem. Hospitals and doctors across the country are postponing care or using second-best or more costly alternatives. The shortages have also forced delays in clinical trials for cancer, which use these drugs as a baseline to test the effectiveness of novel therapies.” (Anna Yukhananov, “Authorities Perplexed By Drug Shortage Spike,” Reuters, 10/14/11)

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