Drug Shortages and the Burden of Access to Care: A Critical Issue Affecting Patients With Cancer

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Pharmaceutical drug shortages are multifaceted and complex problems that affect all aspects of health care, including patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, third-party payers, the pharmaceutical industry, and regulators. Drug shortages have increased significantly since 2000, which cause increases in healthcare costs and compromised patient care. New government regulations have led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to focus efforts on updating policies and improving regulation of the pharmaceutical industry to limit and avoid drug shortages. This article discusses the current issues surrounding the pharmaceutical drug shortage and the implications for patients and healthcare providers. A review of the literature presents the multidimensional impact of the pharmaceutical drug shortage, and the analysis shows patients who are most burdened by drug shortages and have experienced substandard care, increased cost of care, and compromised quality of health care.

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