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New research released by the University of Utah has revealed that in the first quarter of 2024 alone, there were 323 active drug shortages, the highest number since 2001.

Among the drugs in short supply are essential medications such as chemotherapy agents, antibiotics, pain medications, and those used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Hospitals are also facing shortages of critical medications needed for crash carts, which are essential for life-saving interventions during emergencies like cardiac or respiratory arrest.


According to the University of Utah Drug Information Service, this data they relied on was collected quarterly through reports from healthcare professionals, primarily pharmacists working in hospitals and health systems. The researchers further validated the existence of shortages by contacting drug manufacturers to understand the causes and duration of these shortages.

Researchers noted that their examination of drug shortages was different from that of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For instance, if a drugstore is out of the children’s version of an over-the-counter medicine but has the adult version, the University of Utah would classify it as a shortage, whereas the FDA might not.


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