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Bill aims to alleviate drug shortages

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 10:49:16 CDT
By: IPR's Brian Mackey

Hospitals and other medical providers, and by extension their patients, are facing shortages of basic drugs. The federal Food and Drug Administration lists more than one-hundred drugs in short supply, from pills to treat attention deficit disorder to injections used during cardiac arrest. US Senator Dick Durbin says it's not clear what's causing the shortage. Theories range from a lack of raw materials to companies abandoning basic drugs in favor of more lucrative products.   Durbin, a Democrat, says something must be done:

   

"If you come to a hospital with someone you love, and the doctor says, I'm going to treat them with 'x' drug, you assume that's the first choice of the doctor. If it turns out to be the second or third choice, it's worrisome."
     The F-D-A list is based on information drug manufacturers voluntarily provide. Durbin is pushing a proposal that would make the disclosures mandatory. Shortages would have to be reported six months in advance, and companies that don't comply could face financial penalties.

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