A new study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Veterinary Medicine reviewed all opioids dispensed at the veterinary school for from January 2007 through December 2017. The findings show that prescriptions rose 41% annually, while the number of patient visits rose only 13%.The researchers found the ratio worrisome.
The opioid shortage is both a manufacturing issue and a manufactured one. The manufacturing part can be traced back to production issues at a Pfizer Inc. plant in Kansas and residual damage from last year’s Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, a major pharmaceutical manufacturing center. The manufactured part can be traced back to the US Drug Enforcement Agency.
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The opioid shortage isn’t going away any time soon. The shortage, which is severely affecting veterinarians’ ability to provide pain management for patients, is expected to last into 2019. The primary short-term cause is a production issue at a Pfizer, Inc. plant in Kansas, but residual hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, a major pharmaceutical manufacturing center, and a pre-existing Drug Enforcement Agency mandate to reduce the manufacture of opioid medication in the United States by 20% in 2018, are also having an effect.
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