Drug Shortages Hit Break Record Levels

(DailyDig.com) – With 323 drug shortages currently in the US, this level of shortage has become the highest since such tracking of supplies began in 2001.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) reported that this milestone must encourage federal agencies and Congress to increase their efforts on the marketing of generic drugs. They assert that we must address this flawed drug system, which is crucial for the nation’s health.

On the week of April 1, President Biden’s administration developed a plan to allow legislation to be presented to Congress for passage that would award hospitals if they maintained a sufficient supply of critical generic drugs. On April 10, Medicare joined the effort by incentivizing nearly five hundred hospitals to create a stockpile of these critical medicines, which would last for a six-month period.

Michael Ganio, an ASHP director, asserted the need for greater transparency on drug quality to assist patients in selecting the right brand, irrespective of price. He was speaking of the known fact in the manufacturing of generic drugs that shortages are often caused by producers of the drugs competing for the marketing of their product based on the lowest prices.

As patients seek quality drugs at the lowest cost, manufacturers are unable to profit when prices are expected to be lower than the cost of making them. The result is that less generic medicine is available for purchase. Ganio suggests that the manufacturers of these drugs should establish a price point for their high-quality products if they can demonstrate to patients that they adhere to high-quality and safe practices.

Another component contributing to the increase in shortages is medication for sedation and pain, which are controlled drugs. These have been the causes of legal battles that caused the DEA to change its limits on production, according to the ASHP.

Also, a high demand for certain drugs, like GLP-1 (anti-obesity) and ADHD drugs, will cause supply shortages.

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