Senator Max Baucus brought Billings oncologist Dr. Pat Cobb to testify at a Senate hearing today regarding the national drug shortage crisis. Baucus called the hearing in response to concerns from Montanans who have suffered medical complications as a result of drug shortages. Senator Baucus says in a recent study nearly every  hospital surveyed experienced at least one drug shortage in the past six months.

During the hearing, Baucus highlighted the story of Dawn Grayson from Billings whose infant son Tanner suffered severe chemical burns and permanent scaring because of a calcium shortage. (That audio is attached below)

Drug shortages are not a new problem.  But the number of drugs and patients affected over the past several years has grown at an alarming rate.  Baucus says there were shortages on 211 drugs last year.  That’s up from 58 shortages in 2004.