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Harvard Health Blog
How drug shortages happen
- By Nancy Ferrari, Managing Director and Executive Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Drug shortage is absolutely a severe problem to worry about. It may be fatal sometimes. Some serious steps must be taken in this cause by which patients can avail drugs easily. Also, the wastage of drugs in homes is another reason of this problem. If the medicines not consumed by us then it must be returned to nearby medical shop. So, a deep thinking should be done on this issue of saving drugs. Not only drugs, but our emphasize should also be on saving water, as water is also wasted in huge amount in the homes.
Reasons for shortages can be: drugs are available but in less stock to supply, increase in demand of that medicines or stop manufacturing that drugs for certain period of time because of quality control issues.
Yes, I do agree on these all reasons mention by Jessica.But also last week, As recent cancer medicine shortages news announced they have come up with the solution on such shortages problem specially for needy patients, who require medicines on urgent basis. I think this steps of other health care organizations are really helpful for cancer patients.
A major reason for these shortages has been quality/manufacturing issues. However there have been other reasons such as production delays at the manufacturer and delays companies have experienced receiving raw materials and components from suppliers.
In my opinion having years of experience in marketing, I can see a common marketing tactic which i know for a fact is used in he medical industry. I call it the Farmer tactic but many have other names for it. It is where you say there is little or no stock of a product and use reverse pshycology to trick the customer into buying a product. You don’t market the product itself but market the lack of the product. I call it the farmer tactic as it is best seen in the milk marketing “Got Milk”. It is marketing the lack of the customer having the product.
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When a drug is in short supply but the manufacturer has some in stock that has expired or is close to expiring, the FDA can review whether extending the expiration date is safe. If so, it can free those supplies to be used. medicine24h.com
A very interesting post here, I read an article last week about how this happened too
That FDA list would be hard for any layperson to follow. For example, nowhere does it list “ritalin,” which is something I would imagine many people would look for.
Anthony, you make a good point. The current shortages list isn’t highly user friendly for lay consumers, and it can be tricky to find a specific drug.
The list is long and goes by the chemical name of the drug. If you google Ritalin you’ll see its chemical name is methylphenidate (and it is on the list). The forms and dosages that are in short supply are found in the company/products column.
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