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NPR on how low Drug Prices can Shortages

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Copyright © DrugPatentWatch. Originally published at

A recent story by NPR echoes the findings of a collaboration between DrugPatentWatch and Bloomberg, which examined increasing competition between generic drug makers.

The NPR article discusses the challenges in the generic drug industry, focusing on how rock-bottom prices contribute to shortages in hospitals. It highlights the closure of the Akorn pharmaceutical plant in Decatur, Illinois, and its impact on drug shortages. The low prices of generic drugs, particularly sterile injectables, lead to economic issues, with companies competing to offer the lowest prices. This competition can result in manufacturers discontinuing some drugs due to unsustainable prices.

The closure of Akorn left hospitals in a predicament, leading to drug recalls and additional workload for healthcare professionals. Erin Fox, a hospital pharmacist, shares her experience of dealing with the fallout at the University of Utah Health System. The article emphasizes the economic challenges and vulnerabilities in the generic drug supply chain, citing instances of weather events exacerbating an already fragile system.

Rising Pharmaceuticals later acquired the former Akorn factory with plans to resume manufacturing essential generic drugs. The article details the complexities of restarting the facility and the potential challenges Rising Pharmaceuticals may face in avoiding the fate of Akorn. It also mentions the Biden administration’s efforts to address drug shortages by using the Defense Production Act and investing in domestic manufacturing.

The story serves as a case study of the intricate dynamics of the generic drug market, the impact of low prices on manufacturing, and the efforts to revive and stabilize the supply chain for essential medications.

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