NYT: U.S. Scrambling to Ease Shortage of Vital Medicine

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on August 22, 2011

Gardiner Harris: “Federal officials and lawmakers, along with the drug industry and doctors’ groups, are rushing to find remedies for critical shortages of drugs to treat a number of life-threatening illnesses, including bacterial infection and several forms of cancer. The proposed solutions, which include a national stockpile of cancer medicines and a nonprofit company that will import drugs and eventually make them, are still in the early or planning stages. But the sense of alarm is widespread…So far this year, at least 180 drugs that are crucial for treating childhood leukemia, breast and colon cancer, infections and other diseases have been declared in short supply — a record number. Prices for some have risen as much as twentyfold, and clinical trials for some experimental cures have been delayed because the studies must also offer older medicines that cannot be reliably provided…The Obama administration is considering creating a government stockpile of crucial cancer medicines. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already stockpile antibiotics, antidotes and other drugs needed in the event of a terrorist attack or earthquake.”

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