No penalties for stunning gray price hikes on cancer, anesthesia drugs

PBS Newshour health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser dove into the drug shortages pool recently, gaining access to Captain Valerie Jensen, assistant director for the FDA office that tracks shortages. The pair covered the usual ground of manufacturing and supply chain GMP issues, profitability, raw material shortages and so on. But then Jensen addressed the far-less-discussed gray market. "Suppliers hoard drugs in anticipation of a shortage, and, when it happens, they jack up the price...The gray marketers have been asking hospitals to pay an average of 650% higher than the normal price for some oncology drugs and anesthesia products. And in most states, there is nothing illegal about this practice." Transcript and 9-minute video