There are not enough drugs in the nation. Either that, or there are some seriously overmedicated Americans who are running through drugs faster than companies can make them. President Obama heard the call on mass withdrawal, and this week signed an executive order addressing a shortage in critical prescription drugs, a problem for the past few years.
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This latest move by Obama was part of his “we can’t wait” series, where he’s stopped asking Congress what they can do for you (“pass this jobs bill“), but what he can do for you without Congress. Last week he signed executive orders that helped homeowners, veterans in need of jobs, and college students and graduates who’ve been sinking in debt.
While those orders impacted the middle-class, vets, and young people respectively, his executive order on prescription drugs is the one that will most impact African Americans and low-income citizens. And not because these are the people most likely to use drugs, but the opposite – because they are less likely to.
For African Americans, who suffer from health disparities across the board when compared to other races, not having access to drugs is a matter of life or death. Black men are currently twice as likely to have new cases of stomach cancer as white men are; same for black women. Black women are 2.4 times more likely to die from stomach cancer than white women. Black men have much lower five-year cancer survival rates than white men.