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Obamacare: The skinny behind drug shortages

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If anyone receives a prescription for vitamin B-12 shots, they may find that their pharmacy does not have any nor do they expect to receive any in the near future. This is but one of the drugs that are in short supply. Yet, we have pharmaceutical companies making profits, sometime hand over fist.

Calling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not yield any answers as to why this is the case. We may find the answer squeezed in between segments of your favorite tv show. I'm referring to the ads for class action lawsuits involving drugs for heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease just to name a few.

The problem stems from the use of generic drugs. Once the patents on a drug expire, they can be manufactured at a lower cost. Lower cost means that it is more profitable for a drug manufacturer to develop a new drug that costs more. Whether it is a failure to monitor testing results accurately, there are a remarkable number of new drugs that seem to be causing other issues. The worst side effect reported for some of these drugs is death.

Cost is not the only factor leading to shortages. There is always the supplier. Morphine is extracted from the opium poppy grown in other countries. Many of these are poor countries that cannot make enough of a profit selling the morphine since the poppies grow in abundance. The US produces synthetic morphine but apparently this does not keep one form of morphine off the drug shortage list.

Drug companies can discontinue producing a drug. The FDA cannot force them to continue. And these companies may have new drugs that they want to sell at a greater profit.

There is also the supplier. The raw materials may be limited especially for sterile injectables. Thus the shortage of vitamin B-12 shots. The process for making these drugs is complex so they are subject to shortages. It takes time for other drug companies to pick up the slack.

These problems contribute to the increased demand for medical marijuana. There is no complex process unless a drug company wants to produce a legal version such as Marinol. Marinol is more dangerous than marijuana since it can lead to psychotic breaks and death. We are also seeing an increase in the use of fresh fruits and vegetables to combat various problems. The number of juicers being sold in on the rise.

For anyone who needs some help with organ issues such as liver, heart or kidneys, nature has provided an abundant remedy – dandelions. That's right. That pesky weed you find in your lawn is rich in vitamins, trace minerals, anti-oxidents. Ray Bradbury may have been a prophet when he wrote his novel based on family rituals. The magic of dandelion wine was its capture of the feelings of summer.

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