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Preventive Journalism Alert: medicines go missing in America

Rob Stein brings an alarming situation to light in the Washington Post: sick people all over the country, including cancer patients, are encountering drug shortages and often are unable to get the most effective treatments available.  Medicines hit by shortages range from important cancer drugs like cytarabine (used against leukemia) to the most basic form of painkiller available to patients suffering serious pain: morphine.  In some cases, manufacturers have stopped making the drugs because higher profits are no longer available after patents run out, and generic manufacturers can’t meet the demand.  Some manufacturers are blaming the Food and Drug Administration, saying its overly stringent safety standards are preventing drugs from reaching the marketplace.  But Stein’s reporting makes it clear that manufacturing problems and supply chain mixups are the more likely culprit.  This is a clear case for urgent federal oversight.

One Response to “Preventive Journalism Alert: medicines go missing in America”

  1. UG Reader:

    I’m so tired of the government allowing people who need medications to go without. They have put such restrictions on doctors and patients alike that the chronically and terminally ill are suffering needlessly. To top it off, as soon as someone finds an alternative such as importation from another state or country, the government cuts them off. Come on, people, this is Not stopping any sort of illicit or illegal drug market. Instead, it is causing terminally ill patients like my brother to suffer needlessly! He has been on a wide-range of medications just to survive for over a decade. Because of what the disease does to him, he needs pain meds just to breathe or raise his head. He has gone from being able to get a prescription filled monthly to having to see the doctor every month…then having to go to a pain clinic for meds beyond one month…then the clinics getting closed because someone claims people were selling drugs in the parking lot and the government didn’t want any proof. They shut down the clinics instead. And, there leaves this 50 year old man having to make calls incessantly and needlessly trying to find a doctor to see him so he can get yet another referral to a pain clinic in hopes that he will actually be able to physically get there because his medications have run out. He is not alone and I for one am fed up with all this needless regulation. There will always be drugs for people on the street – none of this has stopped that. Instead, all this government control is sending people to the street for medicine they need to simply survive. With all my education and all my life experience, I cannot rationalize what the government and the drug companies have done to us all. I am a cancer survivor and I was treated like scum of the earth when I needed medications to get through my treatment and recovery. A friend has arthritis and can’t even get a mild pain med that doesn’t tear up her stomach like otc drugs do. This insanity is creating more insanity, pain, depression, and hatred than ever existing before Big Brother stuck his nose so far into things.

    comment at 03. May 2011

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