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Drug Shortages Hit 23-Year U.S. High

More than 300 drugs—mostly generic injectables—are in short supply by Bruce Japsen

There are 323 drugs experiencing shortages, which is the highest number since a pharmacy group began recording drug shortages in 2001.

In a report published by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, an investigation by the University of Utah Drug Information Service revealed that drugs in short supply included chemotherapies, ADHD medications, oxytocin and other widely used prescriptions.

“Ongoing and active shortages are the highest number (323) since we began tracking data in 2001,” Erin R. Fox, PharmD, associate chief pharmacy officer at University of Utah Health and an adjunct professor at the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, said in an interview with Chicago Medicine. “The last time we got close... our previous high was 320 and that was the end of September of 2014.”

Fox said the shortages tend to be “mostly injectable drugs that hospitals used that are very low margin.”

And in part because there is not a lot of profit in making generic injectables, there aren’t a lot of companies willing to make them.

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