US Pharm. 2011;36(10):8.Trenton, NJ—A shortage of medications for chemotherapy, infections, and other serious conditions is endangering patients and forcing hospitals to buy lifesaving drugs, especially generic injectables, from secondary “gray market” suppliers at markups as high as 650% because they cannot get them from any other source. An Associated Press review found at least 15 deaths in the past 15 months linked to the shortages, either because the correct drug was not available or because of dosing errors in administering or preparing alternatives. In 2011 so far, 210 drugs have been listed as in short supply, triple the historic annual average. The FDA says the primary cause of the shortages is production shutdowns because of manufacturing problems, such as contamination. The agency will be holding hearings to examine the issue.
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