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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.”

Go deeper

41 mins ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
5 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.