FDA: 200 drugs in short supply

September 30, 2011

So far this year the FDA estimates about 200 drugs are in very short supply. Many are inject-able medications used to treat serious conditions such as cancer.

More than half of the shortages are blamed on manufacturing quality issues. But the FDA says it also has to do with companies cutting back because some drugs are no longer big money makers.

Doctors at the University of Chicago Medical Center have been able to find substitutions for those hard to get drugs. But treatment is still impacted.

"We have definitely had to make accommodations. Fortunately, we have been able to get some of the medication from suppliers. However, some of the medications, we have had to limit use to patients who are curable of their cancer and try to focus on making drugs available for that population," said

The FDA has very limited authority to combat shortages and it cannot tell a company how much of a medication to produce.

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