Questions to ask when managing drug shortages
Drug shortages are nothing new, but the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated this already common problem. Drug shortages have a profound impact on patient safety, clinical outcomes, quality control and other factors.
Many clinicians cannot directly address the root causes of medication supply disruption, but they must still find effective ways to manage them. They must do so while protecting patient safety, improving clinician productivity, and reducing drug cost and lost revenue.
Technology can help automate two key areas of medication supply management: accessing inventory and finding alternatives.
Here are a few questions hospital pharmacists can ask to assess their capabilities to manage a hypothetical drug shortage of Medication X:
- What quantity of Medication X is currently in your inventory?
- What is your organization’s usage rate of Medication X?
- Is your allocation sufficient for your patient population’s current need for Medication X?
- Which wholesalers and vendors can sell Medication X to my organization today?
- How much does Medication X cost?
- What are the potential alternatives to Medication X, backed by evidence?
- Which ones are direct alternatives and are there other safe clinical alternatives to consider?
- How much do these alternatives cost?
- How can my organization effectively communicate these changes to clinicians and caregivers?
Medication shortages are not just a pharmacy problem; addressing shortages requires action on multiple fronts. And while the pharmaceutical industry is preparing to comply with legislation to track and trace medications (i.e., the Drug Supply Chain Security Act), in the meantime healthcare provider organizations must have the right protocols in place to manage drug shortages. Their efforts to control inventory and find alternatives can affect downstream clinical implications.
Explore OrbitalRX, a solution to manage drug inventory and find alternative treatments.