Drug Shortages Hit Record Levels

(NewsReady.com) – Drug shortages have plagued the US since the worldwide health crisis. Former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden issued plans to deal with the problem, but it persists. The shortages have now hit record levels.

There are currently 323 medications in short supply across the US. That is the highest number of scarcities since the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) started tracking in 2001. According to Axios, the organization believes this should prompt the federal government to take action to fix the broken drug market.

ASHP Senior Director Michael Ganio explained that one of the issues the market is seeing is there isn’t a lot of “transparency around quality so that buyers have a reason to not chase the lowest price[d]” drugs. He said that manufacturers that prove they are making medications using higher-quality, safer practices should earn higher prices. And customers would know they were choosing quality drugs for a higher price, or vice versa.

Biden has taken several steps to boost domestic manufacturing of critical drugs and reduce costs. Those actions included using the Defense Production Act to make more drugs and investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the supply chain.

Most recently, the president issued a new drug shortage plan that called on Congress to pass legislation offering rewards to hospitals that maintain sufficient supplies of critical drugs. The Department of Health and Human Services released a plan to give incentives to approximately 500 hospitals if they establish and maintain a supply of essential medications that would last at least six months in the event of a shortage.

Some of the drugs that are currently in short supply are medications used to treat ADHD, like Focalin (dexmethylphenidate). That has created a nightmare for people who use the drug to function in their day-to-day lives. Weight loss and diabetes medications, like Wegovy and Ozempic, have also experienced shortages because of high demand.

Patients should speak to their doctors about alternative medications if the one they typically use is in scarce supply.

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