Cutting-edge science and the development of groundbreaking and lifesaving drugs get a lot of attention, but the everyday practice of medicine is often more mundane: It doesn’t involve being CRISPR’d or having gene therapy delivered into your cells. The truth is that most people who are very sick and visit their doctor get treated with very ordinary and sometimes very old drugs.
But in recent years supplies of some of these critical standby medicines have become disrupted. The shortages have forced doctors to make hard treatment decisions. Drugs have to be rationed or, in the worst cases, patients who need care can be turned away.