Pharmaceutical Medicines in Short Supply

People are taking more prescription drugs. Western countries including Australia make them easy to obtain because they are heavily subsidized. As developing countries move forward they too are inclined to make medications available to everyone. We take it for granted that all medicines will be "out there" ready to buy.

Last year in the US 196 common drugs were in short supply. Less than 100 ran short in 2006. Most of the medications were for anaesthetic, cancer or anti-infection use. Recently, shortages became apparent in Australia. Use of alternative drugs is not ideal. Side effects and less effective treatment occur.

It seems pharmaceutical manufacturers are only interested in producing products with safe patents that have high profit margins. When patents expire and governments want cheap generic drugs they are becoming harder to obtain. Governments are economically inelastic when it comes to what they will pay. They offer drug companies a fixed amount - take it or leave it. If there is no profit margin, in the future there will be no drugs.
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