Drug Shortages — It’s about the Money

A number of necessary drugs are in short supply. While the full list is unavailable, one can assume that the drugs needed are off patent and lower priced.

From cancer treatments to surgical sedatives to standard emergency-room remedies, the pharmaceutical supply cabinet is increasingly bare of the drugs of choice, according to doctors, advocacy groups, and the FDA

Those include intravenous Lasix, a diuretic commonly used to treat congestive heart failure, and Cisatracurium, a muscle relaxant used in surgery, he said. Medicynic: lasix off patent for years, cisatracurium off patent this year.

As of Dec. 1, there had been shortages of 199 drugs, she said, two more than all of last year, the previous high. Anecdotally, others say, the situation is the most acute it has been in more than a generation.

Medicynical note: In a “market driven” money oriented non-system of health care drugs that are not money makers and I mean big time profit makers will not be manufactured.

If our system were truly market driven we would not be providing generation long patent protection to drug companies. Rather the drugs would compete based on merit, efficacy and cost. Given that this is not likely to change perhaps there should be a quid pro quo required of drug companies that requires manufacturing of less expensive needed medications in order to qualify and maintain patents on their expensive drugs.


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