New drug shortages increased 30% in 2022

Drug shortages, which increased nearly 30 percent from 2021 to 2022, pose health and national security risks, according to a new report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. 

"Shortages of critical medications continue to rise — including drugs used in hospital emergency rooms and to treat cancer, prescription medications, and even some common over-the-counter treatments like children's cold and flu medicine," the report said, according to a copy obtained by NBC News. 

The number of active drug shortages in the U.S. hit a peak of 295 at the end of 2022. This is driven by economic factors, inadequate supply chain visibility, and the nation's reliance on foreign sources for drugs and raw materials, the report said. 

More than 15 critical drug products have been in shortage for more than a decade, most of which are injectable medications, and antibiotics make up nearly one-third of critical drugs in shortage.

"Shortages continue to have devastating consequences for patients and healthcare providers, including medication errors and treatment delays, and in some cases, have led to doctors having to ration lifesaving treatments," the report said.

Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., is expected to speak on the report's findings during a March 22 hearing, according to NBC

Several key staple drugs used in emergency departments — such as amoxicillin, dextrose and dexamethasone — are just a few recent examples of shortages that are creating difficulties for practitioners and patients.

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