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Unprecedented drug shortages and upset veterinarians

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Upset veterinarians

Veterinarians are upset about frequent drug shortages My colleagues and referring veterinarians trying to treat their patients with certain medications are upset. When I speak with them, they ask me questions about these medications like, “What happened to...?,” “Where do I get...?,” “What do you use to treat...?” There are severe and numerous medication shortages right now that appear to be inexplicable, frequent and irritating!

To make matters worse, I recently received a message from a drug manufacturer announcing another round of what can only be described as “breathtaking” price increases for a long list of items. The price changes were effective immediately and they even asked me to help communicate this to my clients so that they would be aware of the new pricing and not be shocked when the order arrives. The price increases on individual items ranged from a 11% increase to a 963% increase!

Unprecedented drug shortages

The nation is facing unprecedented drug shortages. From cancer treatments, surgical sedatives, intravenous medications and many emergency room remedies, the pharmaceutical supply chain is under duress. Industry consolidation, manufacturing problems and economic strain have strangled the pipeline that supplies medications for hospitals, physicians and veterinarians. The shortages are more frequent and prolonged.

Many of the shortages are generic drugs. There are fewer manufacturers of such medications and profitability is shrinking. Any breakdown in manufacturing or shortage of raw materials can cause a widespread medication shortage. The FDA cannot order manufacturers to make more drugs. It can accelerate the approval process or in certain cases allow nonlicensed drugs from overseas similar to the scarce drugs be used in urgent situations. Typically, distributors have a two to three month supply in stock.

What veterinarians can do during backorder situations

I've put together a presentation on what is currently going on in the pharmaceutical industry and how it impacts veterinary practitioners like us. Download the eBook from the Resources for Veterinarians section of WedgewoodPetRx. Additionally, you can watch the on-demand presentation on PetsVetSpace.com for CE credit. I'll be guest blogging here for a few weeks to share with you this important information.

Michael Brown, DVM, MS
Michael Brown, DVM, MS
Veterinary Ophthalmologist
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About Michael Brown, DVM:
In addition to his professional studies and residency training in ophthalmology, Dr. Brown received a Master of Science degree for his biochemical study of animal tears. Dr. Brown became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists in 1996.

Dr. Brown’s special interests include diseases of the cornea, corneal surgery, intraocular surgery and diseases of the retina.

He has written scientific papers, is a noted lecturer throughout the country and is an ophthalmology consultant for pharmaceutical companies.

Dr. Brown is the owner of Veterinary Ophthalmology Services, Inc., a veterinary practice that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular diseases in animals. Veterinary Ophthalmology Services, Inc. offers services at the Animal Eye Center in Little Falls, NJ, Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, NJ and at Animerge in Raritan, NJ.

The views expressed on this blog are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Wedgewood Pharmacy.

Medications compounded by Wedgewood Pharmacy are prepared at the direction of a veterinarian. Many compounded preparations are commonly prescribed, and supported by literature, to treat particular disease states, but you should always consult your veterinarian before taking or administering any compounded medication. Wedgewood Pharmacy does not make claims for the efficacy of its compounded preparations.


Michael Brown, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVO 9/26/2011 9:16:00 AM

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