Sunday, 16 of December of 2018

Drug Shortage Claims Lives of 15 Patients Since 2010

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently lists 286 different drug as being in short supply. This number has apparently tripled since 2006.

By Jim Lewis, Medical Malpractice Attorney in Virginia

A serious shortage of medications is proving costly, both in terms of hospital finances and lives lost. Citing a survey by the American Hospital Association,  Fox News reported that 99.5 percent of hospitals have experienced a drug shortage since March 2011. “And 82 percent have had to delay treatment, while more than 50 percent report that they were not able to provide patients with the recommended treatment,” the network noted.

As experienced Virginia (VA) medical malpractice attorneys, my colleagues and I are concerned that this medication shortage could affect patients and cause harm. The medical profession appears to share this concern.

We’re forced to go to a different regimen,” Emory University Hospital medical oncologist Donald Harvey told Fox. “Sometimes that regimen may be inferior. Instead of changing from one therapy to another, we simply put it off in the cases of say, bone marrow transplants. And so we place that patient at potential risk because we’re having to delay that therapy.”

See this video on the shortage.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently lists 286 different drug as being in short supply.  This number has apparently tripled since 2006, and an analysis by the Associated Press linked at least 15 deaths to a drug shortage since June 2010.

As recently as June 2011 we reported on this nationwide shortage, warning it’s only a matter of time before a doctor needs a lifesaving medication and finds the drug cupboard is bare. And wholesalers are taking advantage of the scarcity of some drugs by pushing up the costs.

We noted the shortages include thiotepa, which is used with bone marrow transplants; norepinephrine injections that are required for septic shock; and a number of leuprolide hormone injections often used in fertility treatments.

We have reported on numerous cases in which dangerous drugs have been recalled because of potential side effects. Recently we reported on how lawsuits are being launched over the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone from Takeda), following evidence it can cause bladder cancer.

Six years ago we won a $200,000 award for a client who developed swelling in his left ankle that was due to a venous clot. His pharmacist gave him more than twice the dose prescribed by his surgeon and he suffered a rectal hemorrhage and required three hospitalizations to resolve the injury.

We hope the drug shortages don’t result in more mistakes and the wrong medication being prescribed.


About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose Virginia/Carolina attorneys focus on injury and accident law and have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message so we can return your call. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC). Our lawyers hold licenses in VA, NC, South Carolina (SC), West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), Florida (FL) and Washington, DC. Rick Shapiro and James Lewis were included in the 2011 issue of Best Lawyers in America. They, along with fellow attorney John M. Cooper, were also named 2011 Virginia Super Lawyers for Personal Injury Law, an honor which fewer than 5 percent of outstanding lawyers receive. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Further, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard blogs as pro bono public information services.