channel-header-compShortages of drugs — including anesthetics, painkillers, antibiotics and cancer treatments — have become increasingly common in the U.S. Although some shortages create a stir in the media, patients are less frequently aware they are not being administered a certain drug as a result of rationing, according to The New York Times.

The American Society of Health System Pharmacists says there are inadequate supplies of more than 150 drugs and therapeutics, according to the report. Reasons for drug shortages include manufacturing problems, new federal safety rules or drugmakers ceasing production of low-profit products.

In turn, hospitals must decide which patients get certain drugs and which don’t, raising ethical red flags and resulting in medically questionable practices, according to the report.

Here are five things to know about drug shortages and rationing in hospitals.

1. To decide which patients will get rationed drugs, some institutions have created formal committees that include ethicists and patient representatives, while in others, individual physicians, pharmacists or drug company executives make the decision, according to the report.

2. Other criteria are used to decide which patients will receive drugs. For instance, researchers […]

Read the Full Article