A shortage in medications has plagued hospitals in the U.S., and Connecticut healthcare officials say the state hasn't been spared. "It's pretty dramatic," said Michael W. Culligan, director of pharmacy at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. "I think most of the public doesn't realize the challenge. Everybody takes these drugs for granted, but this is putting some fear into healthcare about what's going to happen in the future." At any time, there are bound to be shortages of certain medications, but the number has increased significantly in the last few years. According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, 148 drugs were in short supply in 2010, and 157 in 2009. (About three-fourths of these are sterile injectible drugs.) In 2006, the list of medicines in scarce supply was just under 50.