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Hospitals fight drug scarcity, fear patients harmed

Reuters, June 1, 2012

The growing scarcity of sterile, injectable drugs is one of the biggest issues confronting hospitals across the country, and will be a key issue at the annual American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago this weekend. Health officials blame the shortages on industry consolidation that has left only a handful of generic manufacturers of these drugs, even as the number of drugs going off-patent is growing. Some drugmakers have been plagued by manufacturing problems that have shut down multiple plants or production lines, while others have stopped producing a treatment when profit margins erode too far.