Hospitals Struggle with Shortage of Opioids for Pain

There is another opioid crisis happening in the U.S., and it has nothing to do with the overdose epidemic: Hospitals are frequently running out of widely used injected painkillers.

Manufacturing shortages are forcing many doctors and pharmacists to sometimes ration injected opioids, reserving them for the patients suffering most. Other patients get slower-acting or less effective pain pills, alternatives with more side effects or even sedation.

Medical groups are urging regulators to help, saying some people having surgery, fighting cancer or suffering with severe burns are getting inadequate pain control. They also say shortages frequently cause medication switches that could lead to deadly mistakes.

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