April 18, 2024

Drug shortages higher than ever

Editor's Note

Shortages of active drugs in the US have reached a new record, according to an April 12 CNN report on data from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the University of Utah Drug Information Service.

The two organizations have been tracking this data since 2001, the CNN report says. According to their findings, shortages levels have fluctuated since the previous high in 2014, but have been steadily rising since 2021, culminating in a record-high 323 drugs in the first three months of 2024.

The drugs in shortest supply reportedly include chemotherapy medication, central nervous system stimulants, antimicrobials, hormone agents, and intravenous fluids. On average, drug shortages last about a year and a half and affects at least half a million patients.

Although a US Department of Health and Human Services white paper outlining policy suggestions to help prevent drug shortages and mitigate vulnerabilities, CNN notes that the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has “’serious concerns” about parts of this proposal,’ notably the financial penalties for hospitals that lack resources to comply with the recommendations.”

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