Shortage Of Prescriptions Squeeze US Healthcare System

( – While the United States government focuses on sending money to Ukraine and trying to find ‘white supremacy’ perhaps the biggest issue the pandemic exposed still goes largely unaddressed and worsens. Many prescription drugs for US citizens are either already in short supply or at risk of entering shortages. We learned during the Covid-related lockdowns that most of these drugs are manufactured overseas, especially in China. Estimates are that roughly 80% of “pharmaceutically active ingredients” which are the key foundation components of all drugs are manufactured outside of US borders. Any disruption in those economies or should those governments decide to horde ingredients the American people in need will be forced go without.

Currently, the United States is experiencing record-level drug shortages. Anyone with elderly family or other member in need of pharmacudicles recently has probably experienced this first hand. Drugs affected included everything from simple painkillers right on through cancer treatment drugs. Hospitals, many on a weekly basis need to assess their supplies and let staff know which drugs are either in short-supply or altogether unavailable. Generic drugs which represent about 90% of all US prescriptions are most affected, depending on which report you look at from either the Senate or the FDA the number of drugs in shortage are somewhere between 130 to 301. The FDA report shows that on average these shortages last about 18 months but some drugs have been unavailable for over a decade.   

Anti-cancer drugs are widely affected leaving patients with little recourse as there are few if any alternative options. The Society of Gynecologic Oncology published a survey showing doctors in 35 different states report little to no availability of many chemotherapy drugs. The supply chain is the biggest factor but another is alternative uses for drugs like Adderall which is being used by people with ADHD and others who feel it gives them better focus. Ozempic for Type-2 diabetes is being similarly taken away by people looking for a quick weight loss drug. The profit margins in generic drugs are small, supply chain disruptions raise costs and many hospitals buying from only a few sources are also contributing issues.   

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