Hospitals across the nation, and here locally, are dealing with drug shortages that could affect patient care. Patti Mink of Saint Joseph London says she started seeing a few serious shortages three years ago. But every year since then the numbers keep climbing.
"This year it is estimated that there will be up to three hundred and sixty shortages." says Mink, who is the Director of Pharmacy at the hospital.
According to Mink, these shortages are in several injectable drugs that are used in the operating room and drugs used for chemotherapy.
"A lot of people who have started treatments are no longer able to get their treatments so it’s an extremely critical issue." Mink adds.
The hospital says that once a medication becomes in short supply companies gouge the prices because they know people have to buy them but it is still unclear exactly how these medicines become so scarce.
"We've been told there's a lack of raw materials; we've been told there’s a problem at the processing plant or the places that the medications are made." Minks says.
Officials at Saint Joseph say with no sign of relief in sight they are trying to stock up on the medications patients seem to need the most.
"When we anticipate a drug being in short supply we build up our stock somewhat and of course that an additional cost too but it's a patient safety measure.” says Vice President for Finances, Robert Brock.
The hospital hopes these actions will help their patients from being personally effected.
Currently the FDA has no laws preventing drug companies from price gauging.