Drug Shortages to Reach Record Levels

Hospitals, physicians and patients across the country are struggling with record drug shortages, causing facilities to use less effective substitutes, delay surgery or look for other treatment options, according to a USA Today report.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, hospitals and surgery centers are running low on many different kinds of drugs, including those used for cancer, surgery, anesthesia and intravenous feeding. So far this year, 180 drugs have been in short supply, and nearly all U.S. hospitals say they have been affected.

According to the American Hospital Association, 82 percent of hospitals say the drug shortages have caused them to delay patient care.

While the drug shortages coincide with many changes through healthcare reform, the Affordable Care Act is not to blame for the dwindling drug supply, according to the report. Deborah Banker, vice president of research at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, said the shortages instead stem from the way drugs are made and regulated. Some manufacturers have pulled drugs because of quality issues, while others have stopped making older, generic drugs because brand-name drugs command a higher profit.

Read the USA Today report on drug shortages.

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