Dearth of Vital Drugs Spurs Review of Causes, Solutions
Federal officials, physician groups and drugmakers are examining possible solutions to the growing shortage of certain medications for life-threatening illnesses. At least 180 drugs -- including medications for childhood leukemia, breast and colon cancer, infections and other diseases -- have been declared in short supply this year. Many of the shortages involve generics that some companies have stopped producing because of low profitability. The shortages also have been caused by capacity limits or contamination issues at drug plants, stricter government regulation and the consolidation of drugmakers. Congressional legislation would give FDA the authority to demand that drugmakers give early warning of possible disruptions.
- "U.S. Scrambling To Ease Shortage of Vital Medicine" (Harris, New York Times, 8/22).