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FDA Reports Record Drug Shortages In 2011

10/03/11

  09:24:33 pm, by MedBen5   , 200 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

FDA Reports Record Drug Shortages In 2011

WebMD reports that the FDA has already seen about 200 drug shortages in 2011 – a number that already exceeds last year’s previous record of 178.

Most of the shortages have been of older sterile injectibles – inexpensive generics which include chemotherapy drugs and electrolytes that help some patients maintain nutrition. Only seven companies produce the majority of sterile injectibles, and the FDA can’t force them to increase productions.

While reasons for the most recent shortages weren’t given, most are likely due to impurities and other product quality issues, as was the case for about half of the 2010 shortages. Other reasons for last year’s shortages include manufacturing delays, capacity issues, and problems with obtaining raw materials.

On the plus side, the FDA has headed off 99 drug shortages so far this year, almost three times the 2010 total. The agency says that’s due in part to manufacturers doing a better job of giving advance notice when they expect shortages, even though such reporting isn’t mandatory in most cases.

When facing drug shortages, the FDA can get around or end them through such measures as expediting reviews of new suppliers, using agency discretion to work around regulatory issues, and encouraging other manufacturers to ramp up production.

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