Drug Shortages in America: Patients are becoming victims

Two years ago a scientist and close friend told me there was about to be a drug shortage in the United States. I did not believe him and actually smirked at the idea. In my opinion, the drug industry is a multi billion dollar if not trillion dollar business in the United States. I could see a drug shortage of one or two drugs but I am amazed at what has actually happened. He was right.

Hospitals, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices around the US are finding they have big problems. There are unknown and known numbers of patients dying from the drug shortage.

Click here for an interesting look at drug shortages in America from Fox News.

The American Society of Anesthesiologist reports that seven US anesthesiologist have reported that drug shortages resulted in deaths of their patients. Some of the anesthesia drugs are fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid used to knock patients out and to treat operative and post-op pain. Another is the “Michael Jackson drug”, propofol, which is a intravenous sedative and anesthetic drug that works in just 40 seconds.

Emergency Rooms are complaining that they have been hit hard. Some of these drugs include epinephrine that helps restart the heart during a heart attack. Others are seizure drugs and who would ever believe that even antibiotics are in a shortage crisis?

Oncologist are complaining they can’t get the chemotherapy drugs they need to prescribe. They are encouraging people not to worry but they are worried. Dr John Maris, Chief of Oncology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia testified on Capitol Hill in the Senate House about the the problem of drug shortages. He stated “ For complicated reasons, many of the drugs that we as physicians rely on each day – anticancer drugs, antibiotics, anesthetics, medicines that go in IV nutrition – simply are just not available.” He continued to say, “ These are generally generic, so called sterile injectable drugs, difficult to manufacture, often very, very commonly used around the world, but for reasons of manufacturing, regulation, and many other issues, many of these are just not available today.”

I was a nurse before I went back to medical school to get my doctorate in Natural Medicine. I have been on both sides of the track and I believe both types of medicine has good parts to it. Traditional medicine is very important for emergencies that can not be effectively handled quick enough by natural medicine. Natural medicine is wonderful and great as a preventive lifestyle. Both, working in conjunction with each other is the best of both worlds.

To get back to this article, I am still amazed there are shortages. My personal belief is that it has to do something with money. If not just because of not being profitable, maybe it is to scare us in order to bring about more profits. My father was the purchasing agent for a large hospital. I worked in the emergency room at the same hospital at the time he worked there. I remember going on break and going downstairs to see him. I was amazed that one shake down thermometer that you could buy at the drugstore for $6. would cost that patient $29. A small aspirin would cost the patient $26. You could buy several bottles of aspirin for that cost. If you have in been in the hospital lately, look over your bill. You may be amazed also.

Yes, I believe health care has gotten out of hand. This is one more reason we should do our best to take care of ourselves before we get sick. Health care is really “sick care”. We need to change that and consider more “preventive care”.