Painkillers - Top drug shortages by treatment category

"We've seen shortages on pain medications like morphine or hydromorphone, 'oldie-but-goodie' drugs like epinephrine and furosemide," said pharmacy director Patrick Ferguson of St Luke's Hospital in Allentown, PA, in WFMZ TV News. "We spend at least 40 man-hours per week in the pharmacy department handling these shorts."

According to Reilly at ASHP, the biggest reason for drug shortages (more than 40%) is quality issues. "It's self-policing," she says. "Manufacturers shut down temporarily, on their own. And sometimes they're the only manufacturer of a particular drug."

Ferguson said St. Luke's buys months' worth of a drug when a shortage seems imminent. Hospitals adjust usage and dosage to preserve supply. When that's not possible, they buy from emergency vendors that stock drugs in short supply, usually at inflated prices.

  • Acyclovir Capsules and Tablets; Apotex, Mylan, Cartlsbad, Ranbaxy, Major, UDL, Watson
  • Acyclovir Injection; Bedford, APP
  • Butorphanol Injection; Apotex, Bedford, Hospira, West-Ward
  • Dopamine Injection; Baxter, B Braun, Hospira, American Regent
  • Hydromorphone HCL Injection; Hospira, Teva
  • Leorphanol Tablets; Roxanne
  • Metaxalone Tablets; Corepharma, Sandoz
  • Morphine Injection; APP, Baxter, Hospira
  • Nalbuphine Injection; Teva, Hospira
  • Nitroglycerin Injection; Hospira, American Regent
  • Oxycodone IR Tabs and Capsules; Caraco, KVK-Tech, Mallinckrodt, Qualitest, MidLothian
  • Oxycodone IR Solution; Lannett, Zanodyne, Mallinckrodt
  • Pentosan Polysulfate Sodium; Orchto-McNeil
Painkillers - Top drug shortages by treatment category