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Hospital drug shortages deadly, costly

Kansas City Star, September 23, 2011

A severe shortage of drugs for chemotherapy, infections and other serious ailments is endangering patients and forcing hospitals to buy life-saving medications from secondary suppliers at huge markups because they can't get them any other way. An Associated Press review of industry reports and interviews with nearly two dozen experts found at least 15 deaths in the past 15 months blamed on the shortages, either because the right drug wasn't available or because of dosing errors or other problems in administering or preparing alternative medications. The shortages, mainly involving widely-used generic injected drugs that ordinarily are cheap, have been delaying surgeries and cancer treatments, leaving patients in unnecessary pain and forcing hospitals to give less effective treatments. That's resulted in complications and longer hospital stays