Health care providers have been reporting unprecedented shortages of prescription drugs, including vital medications such as chemotherapies and antibiotics. Under current law, the FDA has no power to act, so two senators have introduced a bill to help government get a handle on the problem.
If gasoline or jobs or milk were in short supply, we'd all know about it. But unknown to most Americans, the country is now in the grips of a life-threatening drug shortage. Medical professionals are quite aware of it, however, and they're deeply concerned.
On Wednesday, a Minneapolis jury ordered Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals to pay an 87-year-old man $1.7 million because its antibiotic Levaquin damaged his Achilles tendons. It was the first verdict from about 2,600 similar lawsuits filed so far.
Scientists say NDM-1, a new superbug from India that makes bacteria resistant to antibiotics, could spread around the world, aided in part by medical tourism. Meanwhile, MRSA infections, which are antibiotic resistant, have fallen in the U.S.
Drug-resistant bacteria has become a pressing public health problem, exacting a rising human and financial toll. GlaxoSmithKline announced that it has found a compound that could help attack such 'superbugs'.
A Merck-licensed drug to fight a bacteria blamed for increasing rates of deadly diarrhea in hospitals and nursing homes was found to cut repeat infections by 72%. The drug reduces the risk of re-infection by the bug and its more virulent new strain more than in patients taking only antibiotics.