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Inside America’s Drug Shortage (Time)

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Shortages in chemotherapy drugs have forced some cancer centers to stop putting new patients on some therapies. In February, the U.S. government stepped in to allow shipments of cancer-fighting drugs from India and Australia. The drug shortages extend to antibiotics, anesthetics, vaccines and ADHD medications. Demand outstripped the supply of 178 drugs in 2010, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA says 54% of the 2010 shortages were due to manufacturing problems that led to plant shutdowns. Drugmakers acknowledge the quality-control issues, but add that the FDA is understaffed to review existing and new manufacturing facilities. Others blame the shortage problem on the government’s tight price controls on generic drugs slimming down profit margins.