Author: Sarah Cox, PharmD, MS
Impact of Drug Shortages:
The number of drugs impacted by shortages nearly tripled over a five-year period (2007-2012).1
Today, drug shortages continue to pose a threat to health-systems and patients. A survey conducted in collaboration with ASHP and sent to 1300 directors of pharmacy nationwide, indicated that 99% of health-systems had experienced at least one shortage in the past 6 months and about a third or respondents stated having shortages with over 30 different drugs. Costs were estimated to be near $216 million from labor resources allocated to preventing or preparing for shortages.2 Another survey of directors of pharmacy estimated that drug shortages account for one to five percent of medication errors.3
Resources for Your Health-System to Manage Drug Shortages:
While drug shortages are not new and health-systems already have put processes in place in attempt to prevent and address shortages, there are many resources available to aide in this process.
The FDA Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) was enacted in 2012 and included a requirement that drug manufacturers notify the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “of any change in production that is reasonably likely to lead to reduction in supply.” While this legislation did lead to a reduction in the number of drug shortages, additional legislation may help reduce shortages even further.
The Mitigating Emergency Drug Shortages Act was introduced by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) on October 29, 2019. ASHP played a role in developing the objectives for this piece of legislation including:
To advocate for this legislation, go to ASHP’s online advocacy center, contact your representative, and ask them to co-sponsor S. 2723.