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What We’re Reading: Record High Drug Shortages; Americans' Sleep Struggles; Combatting Viral Hepatitis

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The University of Utah Drug Information Service reports an unprecedented rise in shortages; cultural ethos and modern pressures contribute to sleep deprivation across the nation; rising death rates underscore the urgent need for expanded access to prevention and treatment measures

US Drug Shortage Surge Threatening Patient Care

The US is facing a severe shortage of essential drugs, with 323 medications in scarcity during the first quarter of 2024, the highest level recorded since tracking began in 2001, according to The Wall Street Journal. These shortages, particularly affecting generic medications, have forced patients to hunt for medications or settle for less effective substitutes, posing risks of treatment disruptions and medication errors. Contributing factors include manufacturing challenges, offshoring of production, and a fragmented pharmaceutical supply chain.

Majority of Americans Struggle With Sleep

A newsGallup poll indicated that 57% of Americans believe they would feel better with more sleep, yet only 42% feel they are getting adequate rest, according to The Associated Press. The survey highlights a significant shift in sleep patterns over the past decade, with more individuals reporting less than 5 hours of sleep per night. Cultural attitudes toward productivity and industriousness, deeply ingrained in American society, contribute to the struggle for adequate rest, especially among younger demographics and parents juggling multiple responsibilities.

WHO Report Highlights Stalled Progress in Combatting Viral Hepatitis

A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report presented at the World Hepatitis Summit has revealed that despite global efforts, progress in combating viral hepatitis has plateaued, with deaths on the rise, according to The Washington Post. The report emphasizes the significant burden of the disease, particularly in 10 countries where two-thirds of cases are concentrated. Inequities in access to care, medication, testing, and vaccination contribute to disparities in disease burden. Urgent action is needed to address funding challenges and expand access to interventions to meet WHO targets for reducing new infections and deaths by 2030.

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