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Drug Shortages Are Increasing Costs To The Nation’s Health System | Health

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Drug Shortages Are Increasing Costs To The Nation’s Health System
 Drug Shortages Are  Increasing Costs To The Nation’s Health System

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Increasing drug shortages are impacting patient care and increasing costs to the nation’s health system, according to a new study released today by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).  The study was conducted in partnership with the University of Michigan Health System, and published online.

 The research found:

-      The labor costs associated with managing shortages translates to an estimated annual impact of $216 million nationally.

-      Reallocation of existing staff, including from patient care duties, to allow time for individuals to focus on managing shortages was commonly reported (32 percent),

-      More than 90% of respondents agreed that drug shortages were associated with an increased burden and increased costs today compared to two years ago.

-      Three specific drug shortages affected over 80 percent of health systems (dextrose syringes, epinephrine injection and succinylcholine injection).

-      Seventy percent of respondents felt the information resources available to manage drug shortages are less than good.

ASHP is releasing its study in joint announcement with the American Hospital Association (AHA), which is also releasing survey data that complements ASHP’s findings. AHA’s survey of 820 hospitals revealed that nearly 100 percent of hospitals reported having experienced at least one drug shortage in the last six months and nearly half reported experiencing 21 or more shortages in the last six months.

Together with its partners, the American Hospital Association, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists, ASHP is advocating for a number of legislative and regulatory actions to help address the crisis, including:

-      Establish an "early warning system" to help avert or mitigate drugs shortages.

-      Remove obstacles so that the Food and Drug Administration is able to streamline approval of drugs in shortage.

-      Improve communication among stakeholders, including extent and timeliness of information.

-      Explore incentives to encourage drug manufacturers to stay in, re-enter or initially enter the market.

The study can be found online at www.ajhp.org/site/DrugShortages.pdf?fm_preview=1.

 About ASHP

For more than 60 years, ASHP has helped pharmacists who practice in hospitals and health systems improve medication use and enhance patient safety. The Society's 35,000 members include pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who practice in inpatient, outpatient, home-care, and long-term-care settings, as well as pharmacy students. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists help people make the best use of medicines, visit ASHP's Web site, www.ashp.org, or its consumer Web site, www.SafeMedication.com.