Survey: More Than 99% of Hospitals Report Recent Drug Shortages
More than 99% of U.S. hospitals in the past six months reported one or more drug shortages, forcing the facilities to delay treatments or administer less effective substitutes, according to an American Hospital Association survey released on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reports (Corbett Dooren, Wall Street Journal, 7/13).
According to the survey -- which included responses from 820 hospitals -- 47% of facilities experience a drug shortage daily, and 78% have implemented rationing or restrictions policies to cope with low supplies (AHA survey, 7/12). For example, more than 80% of hospitals reported that they delayed patient treatment, and nearly 70% said they gave patients less effective substitutes (Wall Street Journal, 7/13).
Ninety-five percent of hospitals reported experiencing a shortage of surgery and anesthesia drugs in the past six months, while 91% reported emergency care drug shortages, and 66% reported shortages of oncology medications (AHA survey, 7/12).
Meanwhile, 63% of respondents said drug manufacturers, distributors or FDA rarely issue drug shortage warnings and 14% of respondents said they have never received such an advisory (CQ HealthBeat, 7/12).
According to the Journal, shortages are becoming more severe because of increased pharmaceutical industry consolidation and lingering manufacturing problems. For example, when one manufacturer experiences a production lapse or ceases making a drug, other companies are slow to fill the void (Wall Street Journal, 7/13).
Second Survey Measures Time, Costs of Shortages
In a separate survey, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists found that U.S. labor costs associated with managing drug shortages total about $216 million annually.
According to The Hill's "Healthwatch," AHA and ASHP are collaborating to develop recommendations to establish drug shortage warnings, remove regulatory obstacles, improve communication among providers and manufacturers, and encourage drug production.
Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Address Shortages
This week, Reps. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) introduced legislation (HR 2245) to address the drug shortage crisis.
The legislation would require FDA to notify providers of shortages and work with manufacturers to fill supply gaps. The bill also would require the Government Accountability Office to determine the possible cause of drug shortages, such as manufacturing issues, supply chain breakdowns, or restrictive regulatory policies (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 7/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.