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Medical News and Perspectives
August 15, 2007

Experts Look for Ways to Lessen Impact of Drug Shortages and Discontinuations

JAMA. 2007;298(7):727-728. doi:10.1001/jama.298.7.727

Living with a disease can be challenging, but for some patients this challenge can be heightened if an effective drug used to treat their condition is not available. Drugs have been discontinued or are in short supply due to manufacturing problems, plant shutdowns, or a lack of a strong market for a particular medication. They also may be unavailable because they are too costly and are not covered by medical insurance.

“In 2000, we started to see more and more drug shortages for a variety of reasons,” said Erin Fox, PharmD, a drug information specialist at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City. In response to this growing problem, experts are working to provide patients with equally effective alternatives when much-needed agents are not available.

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