Area hospitals deal with nationwide drug shortage

By: Kate Burgess Email
By: Kate Burgess Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--Generics may be cheaper, but that they can create problems of their own. As they replace name brand drugs contamination and manufacturing issues have contributed to a nationwide shortage of some of the medications we depend on.

Jouhayna Saliba, FDA Drug Shortage Program Senior Manager, said "Quality problems affecting drugs that are critical, such as oncology drugs, drugs used in the operating room, electrolytes...All these products are needed and are impacting patients."

Patients taking ingestable pills in hospitals are the most impacted.

Recalls and delayed shipments have added to the problem. Hospitals counting on the drugs, forced to find different suppliers.

The FDA just held a panel to figure out ways to deal with the shortage while keeping quality products on the shelves. Local hospitals are forced to do the same.

"What we're constantly doing is monitoring a variety of drugs that we know might be a little more difficult to get at some time or another," said Drug Policy Communications Pharmacy Specialist Mary Ellen Cox.

"It does have us go outside of our traditional ways of ordering, and sometimes purchasing, there have been a little less of these products available, but it's requiring us to be a little smarter in how we continue to purchase, how we continue to evaluate what we need in the hospital, how we communicate with our staff."

But are you still getting the care you need when you check in? Cox said, absolutely.

"Patients need to realize, we're trying to do all of those activities behind the scenes to make sure that when they do come into a hospital setting or a health care setting, they're getting they're getting what's needed," she added.


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