Drug Shortages Lead To Rationing Of Critical Medicines
Though a number of reasons have created the shortfalls, everyone agrees that the proliferation of "gray markets" is one of the biggest factors.
NPR: Shortages Lead Doctors To Ration Critical Drugs
Drug shortages mean a growing number of Americans aren't getting the medications they need. That's causing drug companies and doctors to ration available medications in some cases (Knox, 10/3).
Politico Pro: Who Can Stop Drug Shortages?
Shortages in critical drugs have tripled in the past five years, killing some patients, delaying surgeries and disrupting chemotherapy treatments at hospitals around the country. There are several causes, and they're all complicated. The FDA doesn't have enough resources to enforce strict regulations, there are manufacturing disruptions in aging facilities, and slim profit margins may discourage production in the first place. But whatever the explanation for the shortage itself, one universally acknowledged result — on top of the danger to patients — has been a proliferating "gray market" of secondary prescription drug dealers charging hospitals huge markups for scarce supplies. And pressure is building to answer the question: Who has the authority to do anything about it? Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of a working group on drug shortages at the HELP Committee, said the complexity of the problem means that multiple agencies may have roles to play, "which could be part of the problem" (Norman, 10/3).
Meanwhile, news about parental attitudes toward vaccinations also is in the headlines.
The Associated Press/(Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) Pioneer Press: More Than 1 In 10 Parents Skip, Delay Kids' Shots
By age 6, children should have vaccinations against 14 diseases, in at least two dozen separate doses, the U.S. government advises. More than 1 in 10 parents reject that, refusing some shots or delaying others mainly because of safety concerns, a national survey found (Tanner, 10/2).