Shortages of dozens of critical drugs have persisted in the United States in recent years, with manufacturing problems cited as a major reason. Some of the drugs in limited supply include anesthetics, chemotherapeutic agents, antibiotics, painkillers and intravenous solutions. An Athens shortage of doxycycline also illustrates the opaque pricing of drugs, devices and medical procedures. The health care system provides very few simple ways for consumers to compare costs before they obtain a service or drug.
Drug shortages are reaching critical levels at hospitals in Georgia and across the nation. Georgia’s emergency medical providers recently sent a letter to the state’s public health commissioner warning that drug shortages are endangering patients. At a recent conference at Emory University in Atlanta doctors and lawyers grappled with how to solve the problem.