Nearly a dozen Republican governors, spearheaded by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, sent a letter to congressional leaders urging action on the nationwide shortage of prescription drugs.

"[W]e know that you take the health of your constituents and the American people seriously. We, as Governors of our states, have a responsibility to our citizens' health, as well," states the letter, dated Aug. 29. "A widespread and long-lasting shortage of critical drugs has been impacting the United States of America for years. Many of the most used prescription drugs in the country are facing extensive shortages — drugs like albuterol, amoxicillin, and chemotherapy drugs. Too often, there is no good explanation for why. These shortages are not new, but they are becoming more frequent and more severe. Pharmacists in our states are having to tell patients that they don't have critical medicine available. Nobody should have to experience that kind of worry, especially not in the United States of America."

"It's just a travesty that this is the level of health care in the United States of America right now," Stephen Divers, an oncologist in Hot Springs, Ark., told BenefitsPRO earlier this year.  Divers said he had to delay or change treatment for numerous bladder, breast, and ovarian cancer patients because his clinic could not find enough cisplatin and carboplatin. Results from a recent survey of academic cancer centers found 93% couldn't obtain enough carboplatin and 70% had cisplatin shortages.

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