President Barack Obama is directing the Food and Drug Administration to take steps to reduce drug shortages, an escalating problem that has endangered patients and raised the possibility of price gouging.
Patient deaths have been blamed on the shortages, which tend to affect cancer drugs, anesthetics, drugs used in emergency medicine, and electrolytes needed for intravenous feeding. Hospitals have been forced to buy from secondary suppliers at huge markups. Surgeries and cancer treatments have been delayed.
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