Drug Shortage?

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Drug Shortage?

April 18, 2001 (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Doctors, pharmacists and drug manufacturers met earlier this week to address a problem that has many concerned. There is currently a shortage of anesthetic drugs, but many feel this is a sign of a larger, more serious problem, lurking. They say the real problem is that the health care system as a whole is "sick."

The goal of the meeting was to find a way to prevent, or prepare for, shortages in the future.

The real problems, says Bruce F. Cullen, M.D., Vice President for Scientific Affairs from the American Society of Anesthesiologists, may start with problems associated with getting the raw materials for the drugs from other countries. Other problems, he adds, may arise with the distribution process. Still other problems, says Dr. Cullen, can come from the hospital administrators trying to follow mandates set for them. The unfortunate result of all this is hospital pharmacies are left with short supplies, and the doctors and patients get stuck in the end.

"The current system of drug production in this country, from manufacturer to distributor to user, no longer has to the ability to readily pick up slack from other areas when faced with a product crisis," says Dr. Cullen. The good news, he says, is that the meeting has given hope that solutions can be found in the future by all parties planning ahead and making changes before a crisis, and shortage, has a chance to develop.


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), April 18, 2001

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