Drug shortages fuel big pharma suspicions

Drug shortages in Canada--primarily of generics but also brand name treatments---are stimulating bad-pharma thinking. Supply shortfalls in Ontario and elsewhere are proving extensive enough to feed conspiracy theorists.

Generics-makers, for their part, cite manufacturing and supply glitches, as well as a more stringent regulatory environment. The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association says worldwide shortages of active ingredients, shutdowns at major manufacturers and production changes are driving the shortfall.

Such scant explanations for the shortages compound the distrust. Some patients and pharmacists speculate that manufacturers are foregoing certain generics because of government programs that reduce their pricing, reports the National Post. Others believe that older, cheaper drugs are being abandoned as drugmakers shift their efforts to newer, more profitable products.

South of the border, the FDA tallies U.S. drug shortages on its website. Some 40 products are listed currently. Reasons most often cited are manufacturing delays and demand increases.

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