Most of the drugs in short supply are injectable, such as cancer drugs or medications that are needed in the emergency room to save lives. Obviously this shortage is putting innocent lives at risk, in addition to forcing hospitals to buy medications from black market suppliers at additionally marked up prices (As if Americans aren’t gouged enough!).
Because I work within the Medical Tourism industry www.medtourservices.com I contacted advanced, American quality hospitals in Costa Rica, Mexico and India. I discovered that these countries are not experiencing any problem attaining needed medications. Isn’t that strange?
Our government is investigating the cause for the prescription drug shortages. Congressional hearings were presented on CSPAN earlier this week. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/301725-1
Mr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services, stated that the USA requires all medications sold in the USA to be made in the United States. If there is a shortage, for whatever reason, it takes years to get through the red tape to receive imported drugs.
However Dr. Sandy Kweeter who is with the FDA stated that if she receives a call concerning a critical drug shortage, it only takes her office a couple of weeks to safely import and inspect needed pharmaceuticals from a foreign country.
But the pharmaceutical companies are not notifying anyone of medication shortages, and unfortunately the pharmaceutical companies are not required to notify anyone of possible or realistic shortages.
Also I would like to add that during this hearing a citizen brought up the fact that it seems the less profitable drugs are the medications that are in such short supply. Isn’t that odd?
Representative John Shimkus (R – IL) wanted to know why the free market isn’t taking care of this problem? One possible answer is that the free market isn’t the best entity to regulate health care. As we all are aware, the health care free market in the USA has basically created a monopoly that is free to gouge the consumer.
This problem with the pharmaceutical companies has personally affected me. I have a condition called gastroparesis, which is basically a very slow digestive system that can be quite problematic. The USA allows a few drugs to treat this condition, the two most popular are Reglan or an antibiotic. Reglan if taken continually over time can cause severe nervous system damage, because it crosses the blood brain barrier. If one takes an antibiotic for long periods of time, they are at much higher risk of developing serious side effects that can be life threatening.
The safest drug to treat Gastroparesis is called Domperidone. This medication does not cross the blood brain barrier, so this drug successfully treats gastroparesis with little to no side effects around the world. Plus it’s been around for decades. So what’s the problem? This medication is not allowed into the USA. Apparently the FDA and pharmaceutical companies have decided that Domperidone is not profitable enough. This medication is extremely inexpensive compared to the unsafe alternatives.
So what is the truth concerning the medication shortages in the USA? Until the truth is uncovered, it’s important to remember that the world is an open door of health care choices. If the United States does not have what you need, consider looking elsewhere. Maybe then the decision makers will finally start working for the people, rather than only considering profit.