Jul 2, 2018

Hospitals are facing mounting drug shortages

A hospital emergency room. Photo: Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Emergency rooms are facing severe shortages of commonly used drugs, in part because of problems at Pfizer plants, The New York Times reports.

Details: Shortages of pain medications like morphine are especially severe.

  • Pfizer is the country's largest manufacturer of generic injectable drugs, and these shortages have gotten worse as the Food and Drug Administration uncovered serious safety concerns at multiple Pfizer facilities.
  • The FDA has loosened some of its restrictions in the face of growing shortages, allowing Pfizer to sell some products that normally would have to be recalled.

The issue: These drugs' low profit margins are part of the reason more companies don't manufacture them, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told the Times.

  • “We are still in the position of trying to put a Band-Aid on a market that fundamentally hasn’t changed,” he said. “Today it’s one drug, tomorrow is going to be another drug. We’ve got to think of something more holistic and comprehensive.”

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 1,056,777 — Total deaths: 55,781 — Total recoveries: 221,262Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 257,773 — Total deaths: 6,069 — Total recoveries: 9,311Map.
  3. Politics latest: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are worried about the difficulties of delivering the $2.2 trillion in stimulus aid.
  4. Jobs update: The U.S. lost 701,000 jobs in March, but the new report doesn't reflect the height of the virus' impact on the economy.
  5. World update: About half of the deaths worldwide are in Italy and Spain, with fatalities exponentially increasing across Europe.
  6. Social media: Bored athletes take to Instagram to connect with fans during coronavirus shutdown.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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