Report reveals how gray market drives up shortage-drug prices

AHA News Now

Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) yesterday released findings of a recent joint congressional investigation into the prescription drug "gray market," which documents how some companies take advantage of drug shortages by buying short-supply drugs and reselling them to hospitals and other health care providers at huge markups. "In more than two-thirds (69%) of the 300 drug distribution chains reviewed in this investigation, prescription drugs leaked into the gray market through pharmacies. Instead of dispensing the drugs in accordance with their professional duties, state laws, and the expectations of their trading partners, these pharmacies re-sold the drugs to gray market wholesalers," the report states. "…As the drugs pass through these gray market distribution chains, they are significantly marked up, sometimes to prices that are hundreds of times higher than the prices that hospitals and other health care providers normally pay." The senators shared the report with state pharmacy oversight agencies.

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