We’ve all noticed—and many of us have been directly affected by—the drastic increase in drug shortages over the past few years. The number of drug shortages has quadrupled since 2005, with the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists (ASHP) website currently listing 216 drugs that are in short supply. Injectable medications make up the majority of the list (examples include injectable diazepam, fentanyl, haloperidol, and midazolam), but other routes of administration are affected as well (such as ciprofloxacin tablets, diclofenac gel, nystatin oral suspention and scopolamine transdermal patches). Many of the medications on the list are ones commonly used in hospice and palliative care.
On January 31st, U.S. Representatives John Carney (D-DE) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN) introduced the bipartisan “Drug Shortage Prevention Act”, which is the latest action plan to address the increasing problem of drug shortages. According to its sponsors, the bill “brings more efficiency to the manufacturing and distribution processes and requires the FDA to take action to prevent drug shortage problems before they begin impacting patients.”
The Drug Shortage Prevention Act would:
The topic of drug shortages is expected to be raised next week at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
|We have had several instances at our pharmacy regarding shortages of very important injectable drugs for the population we serve; fortunately we have been able to find alternatives for most instances. It has always happened in the last several year regarding SDVs of morphine, hydromorphone at the end of the year into the first of the next year, and I know why that happens.
-- Linda McMahan, R.Ph.
Posted 6/2/2012 06:40:34 PM
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