Rich Galen
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Living and working in Your Nation's Capital I forget, sometimes, that grand issues are fun to debate on CNN or MSNBC, but real people deal with real issues.

At a fundraiser for Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Oh) last night, I heard from a nurse anesthetist that there is a continuing shortage of the basic drug she uses to put people to sleep for surgery. And that when they have the drug it often has a label written in some language other than English, and that the efficacy of the drugs is not constant.

"What should take one stick," she said, "based upon the patient's size and weight, "can sometimes take two or three sticks."

According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine,

Recently, the supply of one drug - the sterile injectable drug propofol, a fast-onset, short-acting sedative-hypnotic agent used for the induction and maintenance of anesthesia or sedation - has become critically low.

Which I provide to you as evidence that the nurse anesthetist was not making this up.

Seems that a combination of problems in the manufacture of propofol - which has a fairly long manufacturing lead time - plus the drug having come off patent and therefore is far less profitable have led to this situation.

Who knew?

A man complained that one of the two Manganese Ferro Alloy plants in the United States is located in Marietta, Ohio and is being threatened with shut-down because new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency are impossible for the plant to meet.

SIDEBAR

One of the smartest parenting decisions I ever made came about when The Lad - then about nine - asked if I knew everything.

"I know 80 percent of everything," I said, thus providing myself with a cushion of non-knowledge that has stood me in good stead for lo these many ensuing years.

END SIDEBAR

It will not surprise you to find out that Manganese Ferro Alloys (and, for that matter the supply chain of propofol) are part of the 20 percent I know nothing about.

However, people involved in making the stuff do and it seems that Manganese Ferro Alloys are to steel as flour is to bread.

Not only that, but guess which country is the world's largest maker of the stuff?

Keerekt. China.

Thus, shutting down the only two plants making these alloys in the United States would do what?

Keerekt again. Shift jobs from Ohio and West Virginia (where the other plant is located) to China. Solely due to regulations based, according to this guy, on bad science.
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Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.