A prescription drug shortage affecting hospitals in parts of the country is affecting area hospitals, but plans are being made to ensure as little disruption as possible. There have been national reports that shortages of some drugs are threatening the lives of patients going through cancer treatments. A bill in the U.S. Senate would create a notification system that would allow for ample lead time for hospitals to develop a contingency plan.
As for reasons behind the shortages, increased oversight by the FDA, delays in raw materials and discontinuation of certain drugs by manufacturers have all been cited.
That's Mary Wendle, Director of Pharmacy at St. Anthony's Health Center in Alton. She says they have agreements with other hospitals, pharmacies, and even the manufacturers to maintain their supply. In the case of a shortage, they work with doctors to find acceptable alternate prescription if possible.