The Solution to Fixing FDA & ASHP Drug Shortages

drug shortages

Many are aware that the nation is currently under the thumb of increasing drug shortages, across the board. This medicinal drought is

 

 

 

exponential, getting consistently worse as time goes on; which holds obvious debilitating effects for clinics, health care, patients, regular doctors, hospitals and federal regulators (NCBI.gov).

The overall cause of these drug shortages can be narrowed down to a number of things, most prominently: difficulty gathering or scarce resources of the raw materials, issues within the manufacturing process, regulation issues or mass scale business decisions which have a trickle-down effect on the supply made available to hospitals (ISMP.org).

However, what many are unaware of are the solutions which are available to hospitals in need, and the many, many risk factors involved in massive drug shortages. Read on for an insight into the world of medication droughts, the effects, solutions and methods of coping and how Absolute Pharmacy could be the shining light in the dark for the United States’ medical hurdles.

The Solution to Fixing FDA & ASHP Drug Shortages

How bad is the current situation?

Luckily, there are a handful of bodies out there keeping an eye on the current climate of drug shortages in hospitals. For example, ASHP regularly update a website database with the most recent information on which drugs are lacking, which ones have been resolved and where patients can turn in their time of need, should their medicine be unavailable.

In studying ASHP’s drug shortage list, one can find extensive information regarding just how serious the concern is, and how many different treatments are currently unavailable to hospitals the nation over.

Some of the most recent additions (added on 25th July 2014) are Rabies Immune Globulin, Pancuronium Injections, Ketamine, Copper Injections and Ammonium Chloride Injections amongst many, many others (ASHP.org).

The impact of FDA / ASHP drug shortages

The above should give a rough idea of just how bad the situation is (bear in mind that ASHP have catalogued over fifteen new shortages between the 23rd July and the 25th July of this year, and it’s only going to get worse) (ibid). But the impacts of these hospital shortages may be more serious than you realise at first.

For example, a study carried out by the Institute for Safe Medication Practises in 2010 found that 84% of a study group of health care practitioners (1,800 different subjects), said they had received no advanced warning of a shortage in particular drugs from the FDA or other manufacturers: this means, when the lull in supply hit the practitioners, it hit hard and unexpectedly, leaving them with no contingency plan (NCBI.gov).

80% of those asked said they had great difficulty finding comparable, alternative sources of drugs for their patients, and 74% stated that the costs of buying these drugs when they did source them was unmanageable.

Additionally, many foreign producers of drugs do not meet the FDA’s regulatory standards, not to mention the home nations’ own shortage issues as well. That being said, some drugs can be taken from overseas suppliers, provided they meet the requirements and a successful review by the FDA – but, by and large, it is not a practical solution (SafeMedication.com).

The real safety risks of this massive drug shortage problem

There are myriad complications and safety risks inherent in such a wide-scale drug shortage: the obvious being that thousands upon thousands of patients in need will either struggle to receive their treatment on time, or simply not receive it at all, if alternatives are not sourced (NCBI.gov).

Many hospitals find it highly difficult to find alternative sources of similar drugs for their patients, which exacerbates the issues and often results in their turning to less reputable sources for supplies, which can spawn a whole new branch of debilitating problems (ibid).

One of the main proponents of drug shortages across the nation is argued to be overzealous regulations put in place by the FDA in the first place, turning the entire patient/medication balance into a catch 22 of sorts. By over regulating the drugs (i.e. making them as safe as possible before being released to the public/hospitals), the FDA curb the ease of manufacturing, raise costs and generally hinder the entire process, which leaves everything in murky land. Which should come first, the overall safety and reliability of the drug, or its availability? This is a quandary which often shackles the pharmaceutical markets, given that, at its heart, it is a business (ISMP.org).

What are the options available for hospitals suffering from shortages?

Fortunately, an answer to the issue does exist; in the form of compound pharmacies – and Absolute Pharmacy in particular, which exists to reverse the problems associated with FDA drug shortages.

Pharmacy compounding is a longstanding tradition amongst the medicinal fraternity – the practice allows physicians, doctors and hospital staff to prescribe specific medications to patients whose needs are not being met by large, commercial outlets (i.e. the current FDA shortages). This is normally useful in regard to patients’ whose symptoms either elude the benefits of mass produced medicines, or who are allergic to the products of big pharmaceutical companies (HowStuffWorks.com). This is where Absolute Pharmacy comes in.

The company, acting as a cure to the shortages, strives to fill the gaps in compounding today in hospital supplies, and restock the medicines recognized in ASHP’s list. These independently created medications can then be ordered by hospital staff at manageable costs and in record time to help alleviate the issues.

Additionally, Absolute Pharmacy, as a professional compounding pharmaceutical outlet, has its medications prepared by professional, accredited pharmacists who are already very well versed in catering for specific patients’ requirements – which means hospitals ordering from Absolute Pharmacy can be assured they will receive not only the most authentic, effective medications; but also the safest.

As the FDA drug shortage continues to take hospitals, general practitioners and patients by surprise with increasing cuts and frequent deficiencies for certain medications – the alternative methods of supply are becoming both much clearer, and much rarer for hospitals in need. However, the answer lies right in front of them – to null the stress, health risks and financial hobbles of the FDA drug shortages, hospitals need only turn to Absolute Pharmacy for consistent, safe aide.

 

See the most recent statistics of active drug shortages here.

References

NCBI.gov. The Drug Shortage Crisis in the United States. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278171/ [accessed July 29th, 2014].

ISMP.org. Drug Shortages Threaten Patient Safety. Available: https://www.ismp.org/Newsletters/acutecare/articles/20100729.asp

HowStuffWorks.com. What Is a Compounding Pharmacist? Available: https://health.howstuffworks.com/medicine/healthcare/what-is-a-compounding-pharmacist.htm

ASHP.org. Current Drug Shortages: https://www.ashp.org/menu/DrugShortages/CurrentShortages?sort=2

SafeMedication.com. Drug-Shortages. Available: https://www.safemedication.com/drugshortages