Author Archives: Keldy Ortiz

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About Keldy Ortiz

Keldy Ortiz is a health reporter at the Victoria (Texas) Advocate. He is attending Health Journalism 2013 on an AHCJ-Rural Health Journalism Fellowship, which is supported by the Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Growing challenges to safety, adequacy of drug supply #ahcj13

Essential, commonplace drugs are in short supply, including morphine, epinephrine and chemotherapy agents. Those shortages have led to a greater reliance on compounding pharmacies, such as the one blamed for contaminated steroid injections that sickened more than 700 people, of whom 50 died.

In the AHCJ conference session, “From compounders to drug shortages: Covering pharmacies and pharmacists,” pharmacists described the growing challenges to the safety and adequacy of the U.S. drug supply.

Michael R. Cohen, R. Ph., M.S., president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, gave several reasons for drug shortages, including Medicare payment restrictions that reduce profits and FDA actions that take manufacturing plants off line. Meanwhile, people have been sickened by contaminated drugs from compounding pharmacies for years before the fungal meningitis outbreak of that resulted from the contaminated steroids. Continue reading