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America: the land of shortages.

It shouldn't be this way.

No one in America should have to suffer due to a shortage of needed medications - but this is where we find ourselves as we finish out 2011.

When I was growing up you never really heard of shortages. Shortages happened in other countries - places where they weren't as affluent or technically advanced as the USA. Sure there were the oil embargoes in the 70's, but those were due to political reasons not a real shortage of oil. I also remember "shortages" of Cabbage Patch Dolls one Christmas and a run on Tickle-Me Elmo dolls several years ago - but no one suffered due to these shortages (except maybe some parents who had to listen to their kids whining, when they didn't get one). Right before Hurricane Irene hit the east coast you couldn't find a generator anywhere - but you knew as soon as the storm passed there would be more available.


It doesn't seem to be so clear cut with the drug shortage issue. In fact the situation has gotten to the point where the President has ordered the FDA to take new steps to send out early warnings about looming shortages and try to avert them.

"Even though the FDA has successfully prevented an actual crisis, this is one of those slow-rolling problems that could end up resulting in disaster for patients and health care facilities all over the country," Obama said.

But nothing could be more compelling or more hard hitting than hearing from those directly affected by the shortages. A recent AP story quoted cancer patient Jay Cuetara, 49, of San Francisco, "How in the United States of America could critical lifesaving or life-prolonging drugs be in short supply?" Cuetera's chemotherapy treatment was delayed by a week when his hospital ran out and couldn't get more.

I could not agree more with him. How is this possible in America?

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The drug shortage situation has gotten so dire that the President has had to step in and recently ordered the FDA to take new steps to quell the crisis ...

* Michael Auerbach, Editor in Chief
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Title Annotation:FROM THE EDITOR
Author:Auerbach, Michael
Publication:Pharmaceutical Processing
Date:Nov 1, 2011
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