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Congressman investigates sellers of drug shortages

- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 5, 2011

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - A congressman investigating worsening shortages of hospital drugs is demanding that secondary drug distributors reveal where they're getting scarce, life-saving medicines.

Rep. Elijah Cummings wants these middlemen to explain the huge markups they're charging hospitals.

Letters from a House committee cite an Associated Press report that shortages have led to at least 15 patient deaths and that secondary distributors are selling drugs for chemotherapy, anesthesia and infections for up to 40 times the normal price.

Cummings has given five distributors two weeks to answer his questions for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Meanwhile, the number of new drug shortages reported this year has hit 213, two more than the old record for a full year.

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