What Can We Do to Reduce the Number of Medical Drugs in Short Supply?

Feb 19, 2014

Credit Markus Grossalber / Flickr / Creative Commons

The number of medical drugs in short supply has tripled since 2007. What can be done to lower the impact on patients?  We ask Dr. Yoram Unguru from the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

Shortages of life-saving medicines and drugs are becoming increasingly common in the U.S.  Since 2007, the number of drugs considered in short supply has tripled according to a report released this month from the federal government.  

Many of the drugs in shortage are generic sterile injectable drugs. Some are to control pain; others fight infections, treat heart problems, enable nutrition or battle cancer. So, what can we do to reduce the number drugs in short supply?

Joining me to walk through this question is Dr. Yoram Unguru. He’s a faculty member at The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and a pediatric hematologist-oncologist at The Herman and Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. He’s part of a working group which published in the journal Pediatrics a sort-of blueprint for how to prevent drug shortages.