FDA Website lists drugs in short supply

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The above is the FDA website that lists which drugs are experiencing shortages.

-- slza (slzattas@erols.com), March 29, 2001


Also, there have been lots of articles/threads about this issue here on GICC: from the archives, here are just a few of the relevant links:







-- Andre Weltman (aweltman@state.pa.us), March 30, 2001.

Fri, Apr 13, 2001 Growing shortage of some medications has hospitals scrambling for supplies



Jane Younts needed to find some dexamethazone so doctors at Morehead Memorial Hospital could use it as a pre-chemotherapy medication for cancer patients.

So Younts, the director of pharmacy services at Morehead, made several phone calls and scanned the Internet to locate someone who had the drug.

She eventually found a Web site that listed two companies with the drug, but the first one was out of it and the second one wanted $116 a vial - nearly 100 times the $1.67 she normally pays for it.

With few other options, Younts was ready to pay the outrageous fee - until she got a call from her wholesaler.

"The company wanted to ship the drug through my wholesaler, but they told me they didn't want to deal with this company and said something about the black market," Younts said.

"That made me think this was a potentially shady company and I backed out of the deal. It also made me wonder about the other companies I've been dealing with," she said.

Younts is not alone in her frustration. Increasing shortages of various medications have prompted hospital and pharmacy administrators to ration supplies, find alternative drugs or look for other sources - often at drastically higher prices.

Many of the shortages have come from companies opting to discontinue certain drugs, shortages of raw materials and manufacturing problems, ranging from internal mistakes to companies retooling their operations because of tighter Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

Recent shortages at North Carolina hospitals have included tetanus, rabies vaccines and succinylcholine, a muscle relaxant commonly used by anesthesiologists.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 13, 2001.

URL: http://www.abqjournal.com/health/304660health04-13-01.htm

Friday, April 13, 2001 Shortage of Asthma Drug Should Ease

By Juliet V. Casey Journal Staff Writer Manufacturers of albuterol one of the top inhalers people use for acute asthma say the drug will become more easily available in coming weeks, easing a six-month off-and-on shortage that had affected the state. "We recognize supply is tight, but that's not to say there aren't supplies out there," said Bob Consalvo, spokesman for Schering-Plough Corp., a leading manufacturer of the asthma drug. Consalvo said some backlogs might have occurred because of quality-control problems. "If you were to make a batch of inhalers and it doesn't meet specs (quality specifications), that batch is lost," he said. "And that means there's a timing issue."

Consalvo said the timing issue comes into play because albuterol inhalers use propellants with chloroflourocarbons, or cfcs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of cfcs in all products except those in medicines because they have a negative effect on the ozone layer, he said. But even for medicinal purposes the amount of cfcs a company can use is heavily regulated. "You can't suddenly ramp up manufacturing if there's a perceived shortage in a certain area," he said.

He said the company sometimes alerts distributors to areas in short supply, which can speed the drug's availability. Consalvo said a fresh batch of shipments is scheduled to leave the New Jersey-based plant to nationwide distributors by Monday. Drugstore chains, independent pharmacies and HMO pharmacies said Thursday that albuterol supplied by Schering-Plough was in short supply last month. The name brand, Proventil, was well stocked. But Proventil generally costs about $36.75 for a 200-dose inhaler, compared with the $18.95 people can pay for the same amount of a generic version known as warrick.

"I buy warrick through a wholesaler and they were having problems getting it off and on for the last six months," said pharmacist Sam Choy of Sam's Regent Pharmacy in Albuquerque. Choy said he often goes to another manufacturer Medeva Pharmaceutical for supplies.

Walgreen Drug Stores also felt a pinch last month, which affected its pharmacies in several states, including New Mexico and Arizona, said Carol Hively, corporate spokeswoman. "It was a temporary shortage, which lasted about two weeks because there was an interruption in distribution from the manufacturer," Hively said, adding that Walgreen's primary provider is Schering-Plough. "The company has given us assurances that for the long run they have ramped up production and can meet our needs."

Lovelace HMO buyers, however, say they still are having some difficulty in getting the drug because of back orders. But because the Lovelace pharmacy has been well stocked, patients should not have to go without, according to Lovelace.

Copyright 2001 Albuquerque Journal

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 13, 2001.

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