TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The number of new prescription drug shortages in 2011 shot up to 267, well above the prior record and about four times the number of medication shortages in the middle of the last decade.
Figures just released by the University of Utah Drug Information Service show there were 56 more newly reported drug shortages in the U.S. last year than in 2010, when there were 211. By contrast, there were only 58 drug shortages reported in 2004.
As the drug shortages worsen, so does their impact on patient care, particularly in hospitals. The inability to get crucial medicines has disrupted chemotherapy, surgery and care for patients with infections and pain. At least 15 deaths since 2010 have been blamed on the shortages, which have risen for the last five years.