War on Prescription Drugs
We look at the prescription drug shortage that lawmakers and patients are characterizing as a full blown crisis. There are close to 250 drugs that are in short supply, according to the FDA. These include drugs that are used to treat ovarian cancer, childhood leukemia, and AIDS-related skin cancer. The shortages mean a growing number of Americans aren't getting the medications they need. In extreme cases, some patients have died. The shortages have created an underground economy, opening a door for so-called "gray market" companies that exploit these shortages by buying up drugs, stockpiling them, and selling them to hospitals at massive markups.
We'll look at the forces that are causing this shortage, and we'll explore how this has been playing out in Massachusetts, home to some of the world's leading hospitals. Are you a medical professional, or a patient who has been affected by these shortages? Are you on a medication that could be in short supply? Leave a comment on our website (below), or on our Facebook page.
William Churchill, executive director of pharmacy at Brigham and Women's
Jeffrey Sánchez, Massachusetts State Representative, chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Health
Betsy Garson Neisner, patient advocate and executive director of Cancer Connection, a community cancer support center in Northampton, Mass.