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U.S. drug shortages on the rise


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Shortages of key drugs endanger patients

 

The Washington Post

by Rob Stein

2 May 11

 

Doctors, hospitals and federal regulators are struggling to cope with an unprecedented surge in drug shortages in the United States that is endangering cancer patients, heart attack victims, accident survivors and a host of other ill people.

 

A record 211 medications became scarce in 2010 — triple the number in 2006 — and at least 89 new shortages have been recorded through the end of March, putting the nation on track for far more scarcities....

 

The causes vary from drug to drug, but experts cite a confluence of factors: Consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry has left only a few manufacturers for many older, less profitable products, meaning that when raw material runs short, equipment breaks down or government regulators crack down, the snags can quickly spiral into shortages.

 

“It seems like there were a lot of things happening with consolidations and quality issues and more things coming from overseas,” said Allen J. Vaida, executive director of the Institute for Safe Medicine Practices, a nonprofit group that helped organize a conference last fall to examine the issue....

 

Many of the shortages involve older, cheaper generic medications that are less profitable, causing many firms to stop producing them and leaving fewer sources....

 

Some industry representatives blame part of the problem on increased oversight by the FDA, which has made drug safety a higher priority after coming under intense criticism for being too lax.

 

“As you know right now, FDA has taken a heightened approach towards drug safety,” said Maya Bermingham, senior assistant general counsel at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. “FDA has stepped up inspections. The more you look, the more you may discover problems.”....

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/shortages-of-key-drugs-endanger-patients/2011/04/26/AF1aJJVF_story.html

1996-97 - Paxil x 9 months, tapered, suffered 8 months withdrawal but didn't know it was withdrawal, so...

1998-2001 - Zoloft, tapered, again unwittingly went into withdrawal, so...

2002-03 - Paxil x 20 months, developed severe headaches, so...

Sep 03 - May 05 - Paxil taper took 20 months, severe physical, moderate psychological symptoms

Sep 03 - Jun 05 - took Prozac to help with Paxil taper - not recommended

Jul 05 to date - post-taper, severe psychological, moderate physical symptoms, improving very slowly

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  • Moderator Emeritus

gee. What a shame. You mean people might not be able to take drugs?

 

OH but I see--they are having trouble getting GENERIC drugs. No problem with the expensive ones.

 

Well, there's always the Internet. Thank you India...

 

;-)

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                   1

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • 9 months later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

That's mostly a good thing, but I'm having a bad time trying to get prescription, generic Allegra and my sinuses are screaming.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

That's mostly a good thing, but I'm having a bad time trying to get prescription, generic Allegra and my sinuses are screaming.

 

Jemima,

I'm sure there is a newer, expensive, patent-protected alternative that's in good supply. GRRRR}}}}}

I get updates on drug shortages and haven't seen a brand name yet.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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  • Moderator Emeritus

 

That's mostly a good thing, but I'm having a bad time trying to get prescription, generic Allegra and my sinuses are screaming.

 

Jemima,

I'm sure there is a newer, expensive, patent-protected alternative that's in good supply. GRRRR}}}}}

I get updates on drug shortages and haven't seen a brand name yet.

 

Thanks for the reassurance. For a few minutes there I thought I was being paranoid. What's that saying about you're not paranoid if someone is really after you?

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Ya know, there have beenl times, maybe just one, in the last few months I've noticed segments of shelf space free from their usual OTC medications and instead sporting signs explaining how their are shortages from their manufacturer and the supermarket apologies for the inconvenience as they do what they can to find supply.

 

The out of stock medications were household stuff, I can't remember what exactly but it was the shelf that normally holds Tylenol, antacids, nyquil, decongestants, etc. I was totally shocked that the manufacturer could be behind in the make of this stuff. The generic versions of the products were out of stock as well.

 

Also one month in the 2nd half of 2011, I had to go to a different location of my big supermarket pharmacy, actually more than one to fully fill my order, because Valium was on back order and the manufacturer was running behind. I thought, what the hell???

 

I find this concerning, personally. And my insurance covers branded Valium which is what i take, a huge margin product for Roche with a massive markup (about 30x if memory serves) over generic diazepam. So I don't know why they'd under produce it. I told my mom, "isn't this like calling a coke bottler to buy some coke and they say that they are out. How can they be out, their only job is to make coke?"

 

I hope this isn't a sign of things to come.

 

Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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I always have to call around to find brand Klonopin - pharmacies dont stock it because most insurances mandate generics when available ~ it was on backorder from manufacturer last fall„ so I just contradicted my earlier comment ~

Ive heard of labeling changes to reflect lower max daily dose of acetaminophen in past year ~ i wonder if that created a shortage of products containing APAP~

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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I always have to call around to find brand Klonopin - pharmacies dont stock it because most insurances mandate generics when available ~ it was on backorder from manufacturer last fall„ so I just contradicted my earlier comment ~

Ive heard of labeling changes to reflect lower max daily dose of acetaminophen in past year ~ i wonder if that created a shortage of products containing APAP~

 

Barb,

hey barb. Yes, ive also had the experience of pharmacies being short branded meds with generics available. In this case though the problem wasn't with the pharmacy. Theyd ordered it but the supplier, had simply run out. So I had to run round town getting 10 pills here, 35 there and so on.

 

I agree with you, that it doesn't make a lot of sense for the manufacturer to underproduce a product that they sell for $250 when a near identical product can be acquired for $8.50.... If you can get people to buy your closeto identical product at that price, well you should make as much of it as people demand. Confusing.

 

"what do you mean you didn't make any coke this month? This is a coke factory!" ha

 

Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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So, I just found out today that Fexofenadine (prescription generic for Allegra) was discontinued six months ago, after being given the run-around by BioScripts for a good month. That was the only thing that ever worked for my allegies. What now?

 

I can't believe all the crap BioScripts gave me. First they couldn't reach my doctor, a big fat lie since there are three doctors in the practice, any one of whom could verify a prescription, then they said my insurance wouldn't cover it, which I already knew and had indicated they should charge my credit card. Why the runaround? I'm glad I found out what they're like - I'll never deal with them or Drugstore.com for a prescription again.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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