NEW HYDE PARK - Hospitals on Long Island are facing a shortage of critical life-saving and life-sustaining medicines after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) placed 180 medicines on its list of drugs in short supply.

Dr. Daniel Budman, of North Shore LIJ's Monter Cancer Center, says he's been forced to give some breast cancer patients more expensive substitute drugs.

The Medical Society of the State of New York has declared a state of emergency because of the nationwide shortage. The FDA says the primary cause of the drug shortage is production shutdowns caused by manufacturing problems at the pharmaceutical plants.

Dr. Jonathan Kolitz, of North Shore LIJ's Monter Cancer Center, says the drugs in shortest supply are life-saving leukemia treatments which have no alternatives.

"There have been centers, large centers around the country that have had problems so therapy has had to be postponed or delayed," he says.

Kolitz says so far, his patients are doing fine thanks to a stockpile of drugs they have amassed. However, a rush of new patients could potentially cause problems with supply, he says.

Nationwide, at least 15 deaths this past year have been attributed to the drug shortage. FDA Drug Shortages