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      HealthWACH: Drug shortage dilemma


      Drug shortages have been a continuous problem in the United States. This issue demands the attention of not only the pharmaceutical companies, but generic drug manufacturers as well. These generic drug manufacturers sell their products to nearly 80 percent of the prescriptions sold in 2012. Healthcare providers, distributors, wholesalers, and pharmacies are also involved in this drug shortage. Often, generic drugs are the first medicines to expect a shortage, but biopharmaceutical drug companies are working to prevent any shortages from happening.

      Luckily patients who experience a medicine shortage are giving options until their care arrives. Doctor-patient communication is important when taking medicine to see if it is a popular drug. If so, then patients should check the FDAâ??s website to view the current list of drug shortages. Patients may also want to consider alternatives to their original medication. This can be a temporary change of medicine until the correct medication is available.

      A drug shortage may occur for a variety of reasons, which are dimensional and complex. Some of them include:

      • Natural disasters
      • Raw material shortages
      • Shifts in clinical practices
      • Manufacturing challenges
      • Changes in hospital and pharmacy contractual relationships with suppliers and wholesalers
      • Wholesaler and pharmacy inventory practices
      • Individual company decisions to discontinue specific medicines
      • Adherence to distribution protocols mandated by the FDA

      The FDA is working closely with health care providers, patients, and supply chain partners to ensure the accurate amount of supply needed of name brand medications. Pharmaceutical companies do their best to prevent shortages because once a shortage occurs; the â??gray marketâ?? arises. This is when secondary wholesalers engage in price gouging.