Anesthesiologists See Sedative Shortage Nationwide

Healthcare facilities nationwide are experiencing sedative and anesthetics shortages, leaving some hospitals and clinics to use substitute drugs or turn to "gray market" pharmaceuticals to replenish stock, according to an Anesthesiology News report.

Manufacturing delays and plant closings are among the possible explanations for low supplies of key drugs, which include etomidate, heparin and morphine.

Healthcare facilities experiencing shortages are increasingly turning to a “gray market” for pharmaceuticals. While legal, this market consists of secondary suppliers that are not authorized by drug manufacturers and offer high markups, ranging from 100 to 4,500 percent, on medications in scarce supply. Federal agencies have thus far done little to limit or regulate these distributors.

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