A few days ago I drove up north to San Jose, California and saw something I thought I'd share.
Along the 158 California Interstate, is one of the largest and most well known vaccine and IV pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world, Hospira. From simple saline IV's to glucose solution and irrigations Hospira is one of the leading drug companies in the world. "Advancing wellness" is there motto and from the size of the warehouse and the number of cars in the parking lot you can see they aren't kidding.
Recent news on Hospira includes the nationwide shortage of the anesthetic thiopental sodium. Doctors, vets, and state prisons commonly use this drug. The scarcity has posed several problems to the nation. In most of the 35 states that allows the death penalty, thio sod is used as part of a lethal injection regiment. As a result of this shortage, prisons are postponing execution dates giving lawyer's time to overturn death penalty sentences. In hospitals, surgeries are being delayed. While some doctors and anesthesiologists are scrambling across state lines to obtain thio sod from hospitals that still have a few vials in stock others are trying to propose alternative drugs not part of FDA protocol.
Hospira is currently the only domestic manufacturer of thiopental sodium, which tells you just how much influence they have on the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. According to Rosenburg, a company spokesman, the drug shortage is due to suspension in production. One of the active ingredients that is typically supplied from another drug manufacturer has been increasingly difficult to obtain and as a result production was halted almost one year ago.
Due to drug patent issues a generic drug is not yet on the market and won't be for several years. Luckily, Hopsira announced that production should resume during the fall of 2011. Hopefully doctors will find a legal and safe way around this shortage until then.