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Drug shortages hit an all-time high
December 16th, 2011
10:22 AM ET

Drug shortages hit an all-time high

Between 2006 and 2010, drug shortages increased by more than 200%, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Thursday. There were a record 196 shortages last year, and even more are expected in 2012.

“These shortages often force Americans to go without treatment,” Senator Tom Harkin said.

Renee Mosier is one of those patients who has been forced to forgo treatment and look for alternatives. The 61-year-old was first diagnosed in 2006 with ovarian cancer. After several successful surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, the cancer came back this past June.

Her doctor suggested a chemo regimen that included Doxil, one of the most successful drugs to help keep ovarian cancer at bay. The only problem? Doxil wasn’t available. It is one of the drugs on the drug shortage list, and has not been available for several months. On average, the GAO report found that most shortages last more than 9 months.

For Mosier, it’s not just about waiting for the drug. “It’s a life and death thing,” she says.

More than half of the drugs of the shortage list are considered critical, meaning there are no other alternatives for them. Doxil has no generic equivalent. The drugs most often in short-supply included anesthetics and oncological drugs.

The report pointed to manufacturing issues, such as shutdowns, and technical difficulties as being some of the biggest reasons for the drug shortages.

In addition, many drugs, like Doxil, are very difficult to technically replicate. So, once there is a shortage, it is almost impossible for another manufacturer to start producing a similar drug to relieve the shortage.

The report suggested that the Food and Drug Administration could better respond to the shortages if manufacturers were required to report to the FDA of potential shortages, allowing the FDA to find alternatives to deal with the potential shortage. Currently there is no such legislation requiring drug manufacturers to do so, and the FDA most frequently finds out about shortages from doctors and patients.

In addition, the FDA does not maintain its own drug shortage data, which would better enable the FDA to monitor trends.

A result of the drug shortage has been price gouging and the creation of a “grey market” for hard-to-find drugs. “Aggressive measures are necessary to crack down on anti-consumer practices promoted by so-called 'gray markets' that inflate prices, creating a public health menace," Senator Richard Blumenthal said. "There should be zero tolerance for profiteering or price gouging in these essential drug markets.”

President Obama did sign an executive order this past October requiring the FDA to expedite regulatory reviews of drug manufacturers and investigate price gouging.

Building on the Executive Order in October, the White House also announced on Thursday that they will immediately begin requiring some drug manufacturers to report production interruptions to the FDA. The manufacturers that have to report to the FDA are those drug manufacturers that have no generic equivalent and are critical to maintaining life.

In addition, there are currently two bills before Congress that address the issue. But while Congress tries to create some sort of solutions, patients like Renee Mosier are forced to wait.

“You just don’t expect it to happen here."


soundoff (252 Responses)
  1. Gerry Hintlian

    Try Mexico or Canada.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim

      Ahhhhh, but another way of driving prices even higher. Don't believe a word these companies say. They are con-artists!

      December 16, 2011 at 18:35 | Report abuse |
    • Conan the Librarian

      Have a family member dealing with late stage terminal cancer and there appears to be a direct correlation between availability and the ability to pay – and by pay I mean having the healthcare coverage that pays for the drugs and pays a premium price for them.
      To date we have been able to keep the higher end insurance coverage in effect – next year the same coverage will be about 30% more. Who knows what the remainder of 2012 will bring?
      Not a big government advocate at all – but we as a nation need to have some cushion for our citizens when they have to deal with catastrophic medical issues and the related costs. Fortunately we have the resources – but they are not endless as I have not had a paycheck since mid 2009. The system is out of whack.

      December 17, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • backwoodsy

      Kwai brand garlic...is the only brand thqt processes it correctly to keep the anti viral properties there...other than raw garlic.Cancer is a viris,and once in awhile the researchers are allowed on public broadcasting only,to let folks know that it does hinder the growth of cancer and has even reversed it.I have seen it completely take it away for some .the manufacturer told me iherb,com was th e cheapest place to get and seems to be

      December 19, 2011 at 14:56 | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      @backwoodsy, did you really just state that cancer is a virus? You obviously know nothing about cancer. Quit selling your quackery... "supplements" such as this don't work by any means.

      December 19, 2011 at 21:56 | Report abuse |
  2. Remford

    Thanks, Barrack.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gino

      This started in 2006, two years before Obama took office. Do your math, dummy.

      December 16, 2011 at 16:37 | Report abuse |
    • James

      The drug companies have made more money, on the drugs that the pill mills put out. Basically they made money like any any other drug dealer and the hospitals were put on the back end, have you heard of an OXY shortage?????

      December 16, 2011 at 16:39 | Report abuse |
    • Effelbee

      Remford, you misspelled our President's name and do not realize these shortages began with lax attention to FDA reporting under Bush. Peddle your stupidity somewhere else.

      December 16, 2011 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Dang you are an imbecile. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that we let drug companies keep patents to monopolize the ridiculous profit they make off of their drugs, rather than allowing generics which would help people. That or Barack Obama traveled back in time to 2006 and somehow caused this.

      December 16, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • hn1999

      If you recalled, BO was the one that issued an executive order to the FDA to do what's necessary to avoid the shortage. You need to stop blaming BO for everything without knowing the facts. Think b4 you speak or post. !diot

      December 16, 2011 at 18:11 | Report abuse |
    • Joey Rick

      Just found out today it is too late for my grandfather – it could have been treated with these drugs but they kept having him wait. Guessing being over 80 put him low on the priority list. He served this country and now it can't come to his aid. The public needs to be more informed of what is going on and there needs to be swift regulations on this ridiculousness.

      December 16, 2011 at 23:07 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      Cowards will blame Obama for everything, no matter what. Thinking people know better. Republicans have been in the pharmaceutical and medical industry pockets for decades – all that nonsense about deregulation and the need for those poor really giant companies to make a buck no matter how many people die because of it....

      December 17, 2011 at 13:29 | Report abuse |
    • ThinkAgain

      This problem started before President Obama was sworn in. And if a company does chose to harm the American people because they want to defeat Obama in 2012 (I just laid out the GOP strategy, BTW), then THEY are responsible, not the president, for their own actions.

      And THEY are traitors to our country – and all their supporters (GOP) should be voted out in November 2012!

      December 18, 2011 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      Uh – the STUDY covered the period from 2006-2010. There is no indication of which years were better or worse, and it is clearly stated that shortages existed long before then. In short, attempts to spin this as political fallout are incredibly lame and childish, no matter which side is doing it. Given that the study ended two years ago, it isn't even interesting except as a data point to compare current shortages against. Is there a current problem? Has it gotten worse? Or better? We aren't given any meaningful information to make such a call.

      December 19, 2011 at 03:07 | Report abuse |
    • SurRy

      Showing your ignorance or your dishonesty Remford?

      December 19, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • George Howe

      This problem has been around since the 90's. But of course CNN will always pick and arbitrary year that coincides with a republican administration. The last year of the Bush administration, there were 90 drugs on the short list. The first year of the Obama administration there were 110, last year it was 190. This year we're well over 200. Of course, they'll then blame the big bad drug companies, who have to spend billions of dollars in R&D and go through rediculously long approval process to get one drug to the market. But the fact is without those private companies willing to spend all that money on R&D, we wouldn't have most of the drugs on the market today.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:29 | Report abuse |
  3. Stephen

    Think about this from the drug company's point of view. Why make a drug when you make only pennies but you can be sued for hundreds of millions of dollars by opportunistic tort lawyers if there is any hint that your drug caused harm?

    December 16, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sue

      They make WAY more than pennies.

      December 16, 2011 at 16:34 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      They make WAAAAAAAAY more than pennies.

      December 16, 2011 at 17:44 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      (And they have litigation insurance, so your point is without merit)

      December 16, 2011 at 17:45 | Report abuse |
    • Scott Miller

      A.) The top 10 pharmaceutical companies make more money than the rest of the fortune 500.
      B.) They are the biggest defrauders of the US government in terms of fines.

      December 16, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
    • up1652

      So allow another company to make the drug if you can't make money making it.

      December 17, 2011 at 10:53 | Report abuse |
    • Katie

      They deserve to be sued if they produce a drug which they heavily promote that turns out to be deadly or with grave consequences. However, lawsuits are very very difficult to win. While pharmaceutical companies have giant budgets and can hire entire teams of lawyers, the injured person has to find someone willing to take a percentage of the settlement, which may be as little as zero and often is not enough to cover lost wages and health care issues. You may read about those million dollar settlements but most of the time the victim doesn't see a dime until costly appeals are heard and then the amount is usually reduced to a couple hundred thousand, half of which goes to the lawyers involved.

      December 17, 2011 at 13:33 | Report abuse |
    • ThinkAgain

      They make more than pennies. And the drugs that have been sued over have been ones that were found to have side-effects that were hidden from the public. I think that's a pretty good reason to sue – especially when one of the side-effects is death.

      December 18, 2011 at 12:40 | Report abuse |
  4. Alan

    I'm so glad I went vegan and no longer need prescription drugs. I shudder when I think of all the drugs I used to take. No panic for me.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stephen

      Steve Jobs was vegan and he's dead now because he avoided proper medical care, but good luck with your future endeavors.

      December 16, 2011 at 16:31 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      Steven Jobs lived for more than 20 years with cancer because he was vegan. Most people would not survive 6 years with his type of cancer. What finished him off was doctors convincing him that he needed animal based protein.

      December 16, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • gene

      Jobs lived for all those yrs post-diagnosis of pancreatic cancer b/c he had the money to move to state where he would be higher on the transplantation list. after receiving a transplant, he went back to california until his malignancy eventually returned. His cancer finished him off, not his doctors. Unlike most, he had the resources to make extraordinary things happen to buy him more time. Animal protein had nothing to do with it.

      December 16, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Your a vegan and you don't think you'll never need pills of some sort. When you do give your pills to someone else.

      December 16, 2011 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      @Bob – I used to take plenty of pills. All I can tell you is that since the day I stopped eating animal based foods, I have not taken a single pill and I am healthier than I have ever been. Maybe if more people did this, there wouldn't be a drug shortage.

      December 16, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse |
    • p8triot

      vegans and the duck billed platypus are proof that god smokes weed.

      December 16, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • Roscoe Chait

      Good work, Alan. My girlfriend has gone vegan, and I'm well on the way. She has more energy and zest for life than before when she was eating dead animals. BTW–I used to get sick with flu or bronchitis 2 to 3 times a year. After I stopped taking antibiotics and over the counter cold meds and started a regimen of Turmeric, I have not been sick in 3 years. So much for Western drugs.

      December 16, 2011 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      @Roscoe – I also used to get sick a lot and suffered with arthritis from an early age but I haven't taken a single pill or medicine for 7 years now (since the day I changed my diet) and I am in great shape with loads of energy. I did get flu once in that time and got over it in 3 days with no meds and no lingering secondary infections. Tumeric is just great. I will never eat carrion again or any dairy of any sort.

      December 16, 2011 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
    • Liza

      You do realize that some of the drugs that are also in short supply are things like anesthetic, not just prescription drugs. People are now waking up during surgeries due to not having the right type of anesthesia. This has nothing to do with being vegan FYI. What if you just got into an accident and needed a life saving surgery.

      December 16, 2011 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      you're a real moron if you think that being vegan is going to keep you from getting sick.

      December 17, 2011 at 06:29 | Report abuse |
    • ThinkAgain

      Alan, start dealing with these FACTS:
      – Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003 – that's 8 years ago, not 20.
      – Most people with pancreatic cancer live 6 months, NOT 6 years.
      – He put off surgery and medical treatment for several months and towards the end of his life, said he regretted that.

      Eating healthy is a good thing, but if you have a genetic time bomb in you (cancer), you're going to develop it. The medical treatment he used – including surgery – extended his life; it didn't shorten it.

      December 18, 2011 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • Abby

      Alan, you sound like the kind of person who makes me not want to tell people I'm vegetarian because they might think I'm an idiot like you.

      Yes, I have found that I get sick a lot less since cutting out meat and processed foods. But it doesn't make you invincible.

      Besides, it's idiotic comments like yours that make people dislike vegetarians/vegans and makes them dismiss us as morons and loons. I bet you love peta too.

      Please ignore this guy carnivores, he's an idiot. We aren't all like this. Eat what you like, it's none of my business.

      December 18, 2011 at 20:41 | Report abuse |
    • IgM

      OK people, the kind of pancreatic cancer that Steve Jobs had isn't the one that kills you in six months. It is a rarer but more benign form of cancer that if he had had it removed when first diagnosed, would probably have cured him. Just had to clear that up.

      December 19, 2011 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
  5. dim

    good. maybe people will live longer.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Andrea M

      Uh, it's clinically proven that a cancer patient without cancer drugs will not live longer than the exact same case when given treatment.

      December 16, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      Very true dim.

      December 16, 2011 at 16:51 | Report abuse |
    • c s

      According to peer-reviewed research, conventional chemotherapy contributes only 2.1% to five year cancer survival in the USA. (Morgan, Ward and Barton. Clinical Oncology, 2004. 16:549-560)

      December 16, 2011 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
  6. indifferent

    The market will always find a way to ration the resources of a society. If you do not allow price to ration, access will will do it for you. A cap of prices results in shortage situations.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Invisible Hand

      I wish more people in positions of power understood this

      December 16, 2011 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
    • c s

      Where do you get the idea that drug prices are capped? Prove it.

      December 16, 2011 at 23:49 | Report abuse |
    • SixDegrees

      "Where do you get the idea that drug prices are capped?" He didn't say they were capped.

      December 19, 2011 at 03:13 | Report abuse |
  7. alaska

    They should have contacted Sam Hurd.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. chanda

    I think the real problem is that drugs aren't manufactured in the US.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kathleen

      I absolutely agree. I have talked with my pharmacist several times and this really is the issue at hand. Also, many of the components come from countries that do not have the rigorous guidelines as the US and there have been problems with the purity of the drugs. As an example, I picked-up am RX the other day and it was in the manufacturer's original package. The package stated the drug was made in Jordan for a widely known US pharmaceutical company. No problems so far, but I remember when this drug just stated the US company's name only. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal about the shortages and the purity of medications sometime last summer. The article was very enlightening.

      If there is a shortage for a cancer drug, there should be some sort of guidelines as to who should receive first and it should not have to do with the ability to pay. Drug companies need to provide an assistance program. They should be required to provide a percentage of total sales in helping those who do not have the ability to pay.

      December 17, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
  9. ProPharma

    I think it is ridiculous for all of you to be bashing pharma companies. Sure, they make more money than they need to. But they are not the cause of this drug shortage issue! Almost every pharma company (big pharma and new start-ups with great potential) have had to make major cuts in the past several years due to the economy. Entire manufacturing plants have needed to be shut down just so these companies can keep their heads above water (and that does NOT mean they are still making a profit). This is why there are now drug shortages!!!! The same issues affecting the rest of the country and other businesses are affecting pharma companies as well.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ProperVillain

      Spoken like a true head of PR for a pharmacutical company. Nice to see you are earning your keep by posting as "joe q public" on blogs in an attempt to make what the drug companies do as sensible. Enjoy the money your firm has made off of the deaths of people denied health care due to the greed of your financiers. Also, can't believe you can honestly look your employers in the eye and keep a straight face when they tell you they are not making a profit....

      December 16, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      propervillain

      He didn't say that pharmaceutical companies don't make money. On the contrary, he said they make more than they should. On that point, I disagree. Pharmaceutical companies spend billions of dollars on research and sometimes come up with nothing. Candidate drugs fail in clinical trials by the thousands. Scientists still have to be paid their salaries, their benefits and the R&D facilities still have to be maintained. When a drug does make it through the FDA and to market, it's only fair that the company try and recoup what it spent on all its past failures....otherwise, it would go bankrupt. The pharmaceutical companies are the most successful businesses in the world...they have an excellent business model and they provide us with life saving drugs that academia is not capable of coming up with or does not have the funding to do it. Patents that people seem to resent when they're given to a pharmaceutical companies allow the company holding the patent to have exclusive rights on its research and results. Why should some chinese or canadian company who hasn't spent a penny on research and development be allowed to manufacture a drug and benefit from all the work that went into the discovery of that drug. Patents are generally for twenty years but the clock starts ticking from the minute that drug was an idea and that means that sometimes by the time a drug makes it to market, there are only a few years left on the patent before generic companies can scavenge other people's work. I do work in the R&D division of a major pharmaceutical company and I see first hand all the hard work, long hours, and millions upon millions of dollars spent on projects that sometimes amount to nothing. The general public doesn't see all these failures and doesn't even want to know...it just sees when a drug succeeds and a pharmaceutical company makes money off of it.

      December 17, 2011 at 06:43 | Report abuse |
  10. Andrey

    How about declaring patent protection null and void if the supply is interrupted for more than three months and making the drug go generic immediately?

    December 16, 2011 at 16:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • NoTags

      A great idea, but the drug manufacturers would kill any legislation that allowed that to happen.

      December 18, 2011 at 06:07 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Most of the drugs on shortage are not under patent protection any more. Manufacturers have stopped making them because they simply don't make enough money off of them to justify the production.

      December 19, 2011 at 08:24 | Report abuse |
  11. Jim

    Oh god – how will I get my 18 dollar peen pills?

    December 16, 2011 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. ProperVillain

    As bad as this is thank the maker we don't have any of that godless, socialist medicine in the good ol' US of A! I'd rather go without treatment than have a proven system of healthcare for everyone that was created under some commie ideal....

    December 16, 2011 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Eric

    There is probably some Enron type corporation pulling the strings in the background and making massive profits off of these shortages.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ProperVillain

      Of that I have no doubt. Most of Washington is probably getting a nice kick back as well so they may continue r@ping the American consumer in the name of the mythological "free market"..

      December 16, 2011 at 16:50 | Report abuse |
  14. medianone

    "The report suggested that the Food and Drug Administration could better respond to the shortages if manufacturers were required to report to the FDA of potential shortages, allowing the FDA to find alternatives to deal with the potential shortage."

    Well we certainly don't want more anti business job killing regulations just to make companies do their jobs and produce product that people are literally dieing for.

    "A result of the drug shortage has been price gouging and the creation of a “grey market” for hard-to-find drugs."

    Letting these companies hold sick people hostage by manufacturing shortages is obviously a much more desirable solution than over relating this industry.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ArtVandelay

    Call Sam Hurd.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stohner

      Hah. Nice.

      December 16, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
  16. realtalker

    Just go to mexico. Most of the drugs you have to have a script for here are available over the counter there. And if they don't have what you are looking for go to canada. Problem with America is that we only allow drugs to be used here that were produced here. Seems like that's the only thing we still produce. And we aren't even good at that apparently. I wish I could move.

    December 16, 2011 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Portland tony

      We don't produce many drugs here in America. Most patented drugs are manufactured in India or Taiwan to our standards. Oh and many are made in Europe too.

      December 16, 2011 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
    • FactChecker

      That's a long trip for an 80 year old. Better to allow mail-order from Canada and Mexico. In other words, just reverse what the Bush administration did.

      December 18, 2011 at 17:07 | Report abuse |
  17. Stohner

    Ooohh medications. The headline made me think my weed supply was in jeopardy. Whew!

    December 16, 2011 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. deb

    Big pharma.....criminals of the worst kind.

    December 16, 2011 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • rs1201

      ignorant moron!

      December 17, 2011 at 06:46 | Report abuse |
  19. dreamer96

    I wonder, Is the FBI looking into people buying up these drugs for the purpose of rasing the price, and making huge profits...one of the many new items that are bought and sold like gold, that have popped up these days....Is it legal to for just anyone to buy these drugs, it sounds like they are not monitored by the FDA..since they have to hear about the shortages from the Doctors at the end of the supply chain..

    December 16, 2011 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Zuma

    This is nothing the Columbian Cartel can't fix in a week

    December 16, 2011 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Effelbee

    The obvious solution is reporting on prospective shortages to the FDA, but the penalty should be loos of the patent protection for the Pharma in question as a shortage persists so that generics can enter the market.

    December 16, 2011 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Jon

    Tap in to Limbaugh's supply. There will be more than enough for everyone.

    December 16, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. OregonMedicMike

    We are facing the same situation in emergency medical services...many of our medications on the ambulance and rescues are not available as well....not good...

    December 16, 2011 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. User

    And I thought this was a Sam Hurd article...

    December 16, 2011 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Crapitalism = Fail

    Thank God we have the FREE MARKET to take care of problems like this, right? RIGHT?

    December 16, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • George Howe

      Wrong! Once the government got involved, it became so over regulated, the free market dried up. The same thing that killed most of your smaller American car companies.

      December 20, 2011 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
  26. mdashell

    any thing u post on here does no good no body sees it to do any good!!!!! go post it on facebook or twitter

    raise hell on there!!!!!!! any good lawyers want to sue manufactures presidents and there boards for murder????????

    December 16, 2011 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. MISS MUFFET

    AIR GROUND WATER FOOD POLLUTED

    December 16, 2011 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. binky42

    These crooked drug companies know that demand pushes up prices. We need more Federal regulations over Big Pharm, but no, instead our politicians would rather jump into bed with these guys.

    December 17, 2011 at 07:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Willa45

    It's law enforcement and not just the FDA who should be cracking down on these snakes. They should all go to jail for a very long time. These are third party drug companies who buy in bulk and actually hoard cancer drugs primarily. They deliberately create shortages so they can turn around and extort cancer patients who must pay what they ask because they need their medicine to survive. If it isn't bad enough that the drug manufacturers themselves earn hefty profits, now we have these third party parasites who get rich on the misery of dying patients. A prime example of the so called "Managed Care" business model and how it has bloated the cost of healthcare in this country. Healthcare has become just another industry, folks...and its core competency is no longer saving lives....What they do best is to maximize their bottom line by taking advantage of sick people. Healthcare reform can't come soon enough!

    December 17, 2011 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Hyperafro

    Drug companies spend millions to make a drug from concept to market. The prices are the result of capitalism. The shortages are partially coming from the FDA as well. They inspect and find issues causing the drug companies to make changes to their production and what not. Other issues are material supply and product distribution. Why would you care to sell you product in one place when you can get more for it somewhere else? They aren't required to provide care to anybody. They can choose to sell or not to sell to certain areas, countries, and economies. If you want to up the regulations, assume the cost will do the same.

    December 17, 2011 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • binky42

      Not true. Go to any country in Europe and you can find the exact same medication for a fraction of the price. It's because the European governments put caps on how much they can charge over there. In the US the politicians refuse to put limitations on prices, not because of capitalism, but because the Big Pharm lobbyists keep putting cash in their back pockets.

      December 17, 2011 at 18:13 | Report abuse |
  31. jeff

    Blame the lawyers and over reacting jurors. The quality control must be so high and "perfect" for fear of being sued. Nothing in this world is "perfect" and without risk, not to mention extremely complex medication. How about trial lawyers wait in line for medicine after law abiding citizens get it first? Shortage eliminated.

    December 17, 2011 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Katie

      How simple is your world. Where is your compassion for the chemotherapy patient who can't get his cancer drugs because the pharmaceutical company thinks making them is no longer profitable? Where in your 'perfect' scenario does the patient who relies on quality prescriptions in a timely manner fit in? The lawsuit argument doesn't wash.

      December 17, 2011 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
    • c s

      jeff – do you work for a drug company? What level of quality control would be adequate? Do you mean that a drug company has to produce a drug that matches what is on the label or they can put anything in their products? Drug companies are the MOST profitable companies in the US. ""The combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 ($35.9 billion) were more than the profits for all the other 490 businesses put together ($33.7 billion) [in 2002]. " This happen year after year.

      December 17, 2011 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
  32. Katie

    Pharmaceutical companies who stop making drugs because their patents run out ought to be held liable. Companies who buy up and hoard medicine ought to be dissolved, with all management sent to jail.

    December 17, 2011 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Willa45

    This shameful scam was unveiled in a previous CNN article. Unscrupulous Third Party Drug Companies are squarely to blame. They buy Cancer drugs in bulk and hoard them for months to deliberately create artificial shortages. I don't think pharmaceuticals can foresee these shortages because they can't control the third party distributors who are creating them. The solution lies somewhere between law enforcement cracking down on the hoarders and the FDA regulating the amount of chemotherapy drugs that these third parties distributors can buy within a certain time frame.

    December 17, 2011 at 14:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. LostFound

    Well, the concensus is in – Remford is a moron. Next time read the whole article or do some research before taking cheap shots at the President. Fox News is calling you home...

    December 17, 2011 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. don

    ITS ALL ABOUT THE MONEY. NO MONEY, YOU DIE

    December 17, 2011 at 15:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Darla

    Drug Dealers. Creating a 'shortage' to drive up prices. What do you expect?

    December 17, 2011 at 20:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Chemist

    A company called Ben Venue was the largest manufacturer of Doxil. Ben Venue shut down in November due to several issues: 1) metal particles found more than once in some of the vials, 2) leaking roof in room where the drugs were made, 3) problems with the quality control department. The problems were so bad that Canada banned the importation of any of Ben Venue's drugs. Ben Venue has a history of violations. One company making the vast majority of the drug is the problem with Doxil (and other important drugs).

    December 18, 2011 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Eddie

    I expect that the real reason for some of these "shortages" is insufficient profit margins. This is the dark side of capitalism. Your money or your life!

    December 18, 2011 at 00:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. em

    thats why we need to legalize pot. you wouldnt have shortages . or see a claims commercial later saying" if you experienced blood clots, stoke, blindness, death" you may be compensated...or in general , it would get a small % of people to use less harmful risky pills that are in shortage, as well as have hard drug users be more content to quit /having a legal more appropriate solution there.
    how do we come together and compromise?
    ** instead of just saying all or nothing on side or the other. we should be working towards progress **
    -have pot be like tobacco in that you cant advertise on TV .
    -have it be like alcohol in that 21+ , for DUI (simply test ones ability to drive safely/ alphabet walking in a straight line ect)
    -for paranoid parents, simply drug test < schools could too. in fact that could be a more effective "war one drugs" (drugs that should be illegal that is* ...if pot was legal who would be against drug testing ?
    -also have stricter penalty for those who sell off un-regulated and stricter to those selling to people under21.
    -have small amount of hard drug possession and or( alcohol, pot, pills in public) = to rehab / fine ...not prison . depending ) it would save so much $$ and not ruin peoples lives for using a product then being caged in with evil people.
    -maybe have a pot license, where you have to pass procedures. learn how to use and not use. ect. imagine how pills are : if they came in powder form instead of divided pill form people would be more likely to abuse or misuse trying to figure out the right balance out themselves. let alone there are different types of pot . strong /hard..and many people are just settling with what they get.... like having a different perscription month to month .
    most people aren't talking about legalizing hard drugs ,and people argue if pot then theyll argue for those ? well ..the physical addiction part, the fact that pot doesnt kill you < and other obvious different characteristics which make it pathetic to Link them to begin with is a problem . the onlyyy gateway Link is that of the dealer, you cant buy crack from a liquor store . I bet most of every person who has done hard drugs probably drank alcohol before , why not the link there?
    the fact is our border is a mess.. it could be less condensed . we could take in billions of $ instead of spending billions . (+ /- ) the problem today is people who appose pot. they think of culture that they dont like without realizing that pot has every walk of life personalities , using it . you dont like a culture or wrong doing , change that ..not a useful product for those who dont like to drink getting hungover or messing up their balance..or those who cant afford health insurance and or expensive perscriptions and or possibly risking their health with those risky pills. pot is creative to many. you may call some of them losers , but what jobs can they get or keep with drug testing discriminating ? your making life worse for people who specifically prefer something . cutting off liberty.

    December 18, 2011 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • c s

      You do not understand the real problem with pot: you can grow your own without any drug company doing it for you. Now if everyone was able to get cheap and inexpensive pot for many of their problems, where would the drug companies be? You just have no heart for all of the legal drug pushers and their million dollars CEOs. Shame on you.

      December 18, 2011 at 18:38 | Report abuse |
    • Charlesstoob

      wh0cd351553 amoxicillin 875 mg

      August 30, 2017 at 03:58 | Report abuse |
  40. ThinkAgain

    "The report pointed to manufacturing issues, such as shutdowns, and technical difficulties as being some of the biggest reasons for the drug shortages."

    Gee, I thought the free market guaranteed there wouldn't be problems like this. Big Pharma makes billions every year and they still have problems.

    And the GOP wants to privatize everything? Give me a break!

    December 18, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • c s

      Big Pharma is doing fine at their primary goal: making billions of $$$$$. The fact that they have a product to sell is kind of secondary to them. In fact a shortage just allows the prices to be higher.

      December 18, 2011 at 18:40 | Report abuse |
  41. FactChecker

    Any company that cannot fill the demand should forfeit their patent and generics should be allowed. I bet that would work miracles.

    December 18, 2011 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. LMCofVB

    The pharmaceuticals strike again. How convenient – a shortage which causes increased prices!! What? Not enough sick people in the country to keep those profits high enough!!

    December 19, 2011 at 04:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. BOB

    then there is pot a lot of research has been done on it and in many cases it helps. but if you make it leagle the drug compaines would lose a lot i mean a lot of money the only reason it is not leagle is because of the drug companies. its back to money not people same with oil. americans think the goverments care about its people its all money

    December 19, 2011 at 06:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Bobby

    This is the result of a Healthcare system that values profits over people. If it were the other way around, we'd probably have a cure for Cancer, Addiction, Alzhiemers.. People would be exercising and eating better and living healthy into their 90's.. Health Insurance would be cheap etc.. Dream on.. Let the Buyer Beware..

    December 19, 2011 at 08:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • IgM

      I agree with your profits over people thing. But saying that because of this people don't exercise or eat right is ridiculous. If people did exercise and eat right, they wouldn't need many of these drugs in the first place...

      December 19, 2011 at 09:37 | Report abuse |
  45. bob

    when the shortages get bad enough, the federal govt will take action to allow big pharma to import drugs made in other countries. Do your homework, and you will see that most pharma companies in the US are already building manufacturing sites in India and other countries. Once they are allowed to import, guess what happens to all those state side manufacturing plants???

    December 19, 2011 at 13:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Voltairine

    Wow, drug shortages huh? Sounds like a perfect excuse to gouge people ... to death. When things get scarce, they get more expensive; I wonder if that would still work if you made them scarce on purpose O.o

    December 19, 2011 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Adam

    The answer to many of these lies in the compounding pharmacies. These pharmacies can take an active ingredient and create the medications themselves. Only problem is big pharma loses out if this becomes accepted practice.

    If big pharma isn't producing adequate amounts, however, why should they care? My pharmacy looked at making doxil and it simply was not possible. Too difficult. The doxorubicin ingredient we have but to incorporate the liposomal base was outside our pharmacy's ability.

    Many other drugs however we have successfully supplied hospitals with. If America would just raise their voice in outrage over this perhaps compounders could step in until the shortage is resolved.

    December 19, 2011 at 20:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Carlos

    As a former pharma researcher, the goal was always made clear to maximize profits. Companies are managed by 'bean counters' – you know –> accountants. As such, supply will always be limited on selective products to ensure maximum profits. I do apologize for this outcome, but I do not know how to influence the lack of price regulation.

    December 20, 2011 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Big Ron

    It's a travesty!No shortage of illegal drugs.And there's a 'war on illegal drugs" right? Yeah right?Yeah we're all supposed to believe this lie too?It's just another lie to raise the prices to an even more astronomical level.Another political scam for the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry!More money and kickbacks for the rich! If the rich can't get more millions with obscene tax breaks,they'll get it in other ways like this.

    December 20, 2011 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Carsos

    Senator Richard Blumenthal said, "There should be zero tolerance for profiteering or price gouging in these essential drug markets.” A little late, Senator, the drug companies have been profiteering and price gouging for decades.

    December 20, 2011 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.