A New Challenge in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Almost overshadowed by the controversy surrounding pricing and effectiveness of new specialty drugs such as Sovaldi, and their potential impact on health care costs, there has been an ongoing problem of drug shortages in the United States. This problem can increase costs and harm patients; it also can pose significant problems for physicians and hospitals seeking to provide necessary care to their patients. And, the problem seems somewhat intractable. In the words of one senior FDA official, “Anybody who is sure they know the answer to this question is probably kidding themselves.” The hospital you work for has avoided major issues to date, but does not believe it can expect this good fortune to last. The hospital’s CEO has asked you to prepare a memo on this general topic to help her think through what she can do to be prepared. She wants you to address the following.
a. How strong is the evidence that there is a current drug shortage in the U.S.? If a significant shortage exists, what is the evidence that it is creating problems for the U.S. health care system?
b. Based on your scan of the literature, what do you think are the major causes of the current drug shortage?
c. To date, what steps has the United States government taken to address the shortage? What is your view regarding whether these actions are likely to ameliorate the shortage, given the causes you identified in your answer to (b.)?
a. What do you know about drug shortages in Saudi Arabia:
?Is the Saudi Arabian health system also experiencing shortages of specific drugs?
?If yes, are the problems similar to, or different from, those in the U.S.?
?If no, what has Saudi Arabia done to avoid shortages?
Your memo should be no longer than four pages (double-spaced, single-sided, in size 10 front or larger), and should include citations and a list of references. The references are not included in the four page limit.
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