National Public Radio: Rural Hospitals Struggle To Stock Expensive Drugs That Could Save Lives

EXCERPT: “Hospital pharmacist Mandy Langston remembers when Lulabelle Berry arrived at the emergency center of Stone County Medical Center in Mountain View, Ark., last year. Berry couldn’t talk. Her face was drooping on one side. Her eyes couldn’t focus. ‘She was basically unresponsive,’ Langston recalls. Berry, 78, was having a severe ischemic stroke. Each passing second made brain damage more likely. So, Langston reached for the clot-busting drug Activase, which must be given within a few hours to work. ‘If we don’t keep this drug [in stock], people will die,’ Langston says. Berry survived. But Langston fears others could die because of an unintended bias against rural hospitals built into the U.S. health law. An obscure Obamacare provision forces rural hospitals like Langston’s to pay full price for drugs that many bigger hospitals buy at deeply discounted rates.” FULLSTORY: