Monday, May 24, 2010

Take your meds—if you can get them

From Macleans:
With dozens of prescription drugs unavailable and hundreds more on back order, pharmacists in Saskatchewan are scrambling to find alternative medications for patients. “It’s worsening and there seems to be no end in sight,” says Ray Joubert, registrar with the Saskatchewan College of Pharmacists. “We need to solve it before something disastrous happens.”

While the rest of Canada is suffering a moderate drug shortage, experts say it doesn’t compare to what’s going on in Saskatchewan. For almost a year, pharmacists there have been cutting pills in half, contacting multiple manufacturers and, when necessary, calling doctors to temporarily switch a patient’s medication because the supply of many prescriptions—including tetracycline and certain strengths of vitamin B9—have dried up. It’s especially hard for patients on complicated drug regimens, since alternatives can’t always be found. “Some patients,” says Joubert, “have gone without their meds.” ...more

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