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On the second episode of Medically Necessary, reporter Matt Blois talks to Dr. Hui Zhao, a researcher at Penn State University whose work has focused on pharmaceutical supply chains.
Zhao has studied that topic for over a decade and started examining the causes of drug shortages in 2011. Right now, the Food and Drug Administration lists more than 100 drugs that are considered in short supply. Drug shortages peaked around 2011, but numbers have started to decline a bit since then.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, government lockdowns reduced production and supply. At the same time, patients streamed into emergency rooms and demand for some drugs skyrocketed.
Zhao explains the fundamental reasons behind drug shortages, how the coronavirus pandemic affected drug shortages and what needs to be done to fix the problem.