These days, lifesaving drugs are getting more expensive and harder for hospitals to find. Especially meds that knock you out during surgery, and ones used to treat cancer, and critically ill patients. In fact, experts say we’re in the midst of the worst drug shortage in U.S. history – with 99 percent of hospitals reporting drug shortages!
Even more unsettling, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices conducted a recent anonymous survey and found that more than half of all hospitals admit they’ve bought meds from so-called “pill scalpers.” Just like ticket scalpers may buy up all the Taylor Swift concert tickets and then re-sell them illegally – pill scalpers do the same thing. They watch drug manufacturers for potential shortages, and stockpile the drugs. Then charge hospitals and pharmacies more than 10 times the usual price.
They also buy drugs from questionable sources - drugs that may not have been stored properly or may be stolen – or even counterfeit.
But with desperate patients in need of medicine, some doctors and hospitals feel like they have no choice but to buy drugs from pill scalpers.
And the FDA can’t do much about it. They don’t have the power to force manufacturers to make certain drugs.
So now lawmakers are trying to step in and force the drug manufacturers to at least notify hospitals of an impending shortage. Experts say that alone won’t solve the problem, but it’s a start. We’ll keep you posted on the progress – but if you have surgery planned, you may want to ask your hospital if drug shortages will affect it.