(MSNBC) — Mounting shortages of crucial drugs are creating a new dilemma for the nation’s hospital pharmacists, who say they find themselves caught between following government rules for storage and safety — or throwing away vital and lifesaving medications.

At one hospital in Florida, officials acknowledge they’ve discarded the scarce cancer drug doxorubicin, even as patients nationwide clamor for treatment.

“I’d never want to take a chance with not following the rules,” said Alan K. Knudsen, director of pharmacy legal services for Shands HealthCare at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “I wish I didn’t have to throw it out.”

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