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US scrambling to ease shortage of vital medicine

The New York Times, August 22, 2011

Federal officials and lawmakers, along with the drug industry and doctors' groups, are rushing to find remedies for critical shortages of drugs to treat a number of life-threatening illnesses, including bacterial infection and several forms of cancer.The proposed solutions, which include a national stockpile of cancer medicines and a nonprofit company that will import drugs and eventually make them, are still in the early or planning stages. But the sense of alarm is widespread. "These shortages are just killing us," said Michael Link, MD, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the nation's largest alliance of cancer doctors. "These drugs save lives, and it's unconscionable that medicines that cost a couple of bucks a vial are unavailable."