KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

GAO: Medicine Shortages Remain Stubbornly High

Some experts say the solution is to pay more for generic injectable drugs.  

CQ HealthBeat: Progress On Drug Shortages Reported By GAO, Total Number Remains High
The Food and Drug Administration has made progress in addressing some immediate causes of drug shortages, but the total number of shortages remains high, according to a Government Accountability Office report issued Monday (Ethridge, 2/10).

The New York Times: Drug Shortages Continue To Vex Doctors
The number of annual drug shortages — both new and continuing ones — nearly tripled from 2007 to 2012. In recent years, drug shortages have become an all but permanent part of the American medical landscape. The most common ones are for generic versions of sterile injectable drugs, partly because factories that make them are aging and prone to quality problems, causing temporary closings of production lines or even entire factories (Tavernise, 2/10).

Marketplace: Problems In The U.S. Drug Pipeline
Drexel Health Professor Robert Field says shortages started to crop up about ten years ago, in large part, after the feds lowered reimbursement rates for generic oncology drugs. ... The solution – ironically – may be bumping up those same reimbursements that got cut a decade ago (Gorenstein, 2/10).

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