Drug Shortages Continue to Vex Doctors



The most acute shortage is that of basic IV fluids, a drug expert whose data was used in a watchdog agency’s analysis said.

nytimes.com / By SABRINA TAVERNISE / FEB. 10, 2014

Despite efforts by the Obama administration to ease shortages of critical drugs, shortfalls have persisted, forcing doctors to resort to rationing in some cases or to scramble for alternatives, a government watchdog agency said on Monday. The number of annual drug shortages — both new and continuing ones — nearly tripled from 2007 to 2012.

In recent years, drug shortages have become an all but permanent part of the American medical landscape. The most common ones are for generic versions of sterile injectable drugs, partly because factories that make them are aging and prone to quality problems, causing temporary closings of production lines or even entire factories.

The analysis by the United States Government Accountability Office, released Monday, was required by a 2012 law that gave the Food and Drug Administration more power to manage shortages. The watchdog agency was designated to evaluate whether the F.D.A. had improved its response to the problem, among other things.

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