Kind of looks like the drug companies may be playing a game to keep drug prices high.
To help first responders deal with drug shortages, Oregon has taken the unusual step of temporarily allowing ambulance services to carry and administer expired drugs.
This rule change took effect last month, but the AP reports that paramedics in the city of Bend, OR have been using expired drugs for a year.
And Oregon isn’t alone. The drug shortage crisis is hitting the whole country. Some blame a regulatory crackdown by the FDA. The FDA disputes that claim, and says the shortage is due to manufacturing and quality problems. And others say there’s little incentive to make generic drugs because of a low profit margin. ...Here and Now, NPR
What passes for "incentive these" days, as we've all learned from Wall Street as well as insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry, is a margin of profit that is purely unreasonable. The problems go right back to shareholders -- and many of us are shareholders in the drug industry through our work-related investment plans. What goes around comes around when you're in pain, in an emergency, and the drugs just aren't there. Unless we're given drugs that are past their expiration date.
"Unfortunately, we are at such a shortage of critical medicines and emergency care across the country,” says Dr. Jim Augustine, “that we have to expand our supply somehow. And one of the resolution methods is to use drugs that are passed the manufacturer’s expired dates.”
Dr. Augustine says shortage is on the manufacturing side, so ambulances and hospitals are facing the same shortages in emergency drugs: from Valium to treat seizures or Dextrose-50 to boost a diabetic’s blood sugar .
“Every class of medicine that we use in emergency care is short,” says Dr. Augustine. “The count of medicines this week that are short, there are 59 medicines that we use in emergency care. And 170 preparations of those 59 medicines are on the report this week are medicines that we cannot access — we can’t purchase. So our supplies from the manufacturers have dried up all the way through the system to the point where we cannot purchase those.”...Here and Now, NPR
So. Who gives in first? The pharmaceutical manufacturers? The shareholders?
Or all of us agreeing that, well, some of us just aren't going to make it when we find ourselves in an emergency health crisis. And there's always the off-chance that the drug given isn't, well, too out-of-date...