Brown wants pharmaceuticals to declare shortages, discontinuances

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Brown wants pharmaceuticals to declare shortages, discontinuances

Toledo Blade — Drug shortages are complicating critical care for cancer patients and others with life-threatening illnesses, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) said during a news conference Saturday at which he announced a bill that would require pharmaceuticals companies to notify the federal government whenever a shortage or discontinuance is anticipated.

Quality-control problems, raw-materials shortages, or even discontinued production of certain drugs because they’re unprofitable often requires doctors to change patients’ care in mid-treatment, the senator said during a news conference at the University of Toledo Medical Center, formerly Medical College of Ohio Hospital. Substitute medications are often less effective, costlier, and more difficult to administer than the drugs initially prescribed, he said.

Flanking Senator Brown at the event were two hospital officials and Joanne Schwartzberg, a retired clinical nurse from the hospital who now is under care for lung cancer and whose chemotherapy medication has been changed twice because of drug unavailability.

“As a patient, it’s sort of scary when you’re on the preferred drug and they take it away,” said Mrs. Schwartzberg, who lives in Toledo.

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