Minnesota patients and providers navigate ‘historical peak’ of drug shortages

[MPR News, May 04, 2023] For months, providers and patients across the U.S. and in Minnesota have been dealing with a shortage of a medication commonly used to treat people with breathing issues.

Patients and providers have been navigating the shortage of albuterol as well as low supplies of cancer treatments, common antibiotics and children’s flu medications, among other things. And while drug shortages aren’t a new phenomenon, they do seem to be getting worse.

As for why manufacturing companies don’t just stockpile albuterol, Stiehm said it’s all about the bottom line.

“Albuterol, for my understanding, is like one of the top 10 most commonly consumed medications and prescribed medications. It's been around forever. And it's really inexpensive. It's wonderful for a patient to rely on that medicine,” Stiehm said. “But while that's a wonderful thing as a patient, that's a terrible thing as a manufacturer.”

Stiehm said manufacturers do not have an incentive to make these kinds of generic medications, since they don’t see a huge return on investment.

Share this article