…not because The Joint Commission was here last week but because several critical drugs are in short supply.
In a recent conversation with Melissa Meyer, Director of Pharmacy at GVMH, I learned there are 33 drugs GVMH uses on a regular basis that are in short supply and difficult to obtain due to national shortages of the drug. Every drug is critical if you are the patient who needs the drug to get well and a shortage of a specific drug could be life threatening.
There are many reasons a drug could be in short supply. There could be a shortage of the components used to manufacture the drug, there could be a mandatory shut down at a manufacturing facility and it could be greed. A drug manufacturer may be able to make a larger profit on drug X so the manufacturer stops producing drug Y. Regardless of the reason, a drug shortage can be catastrophic.
The AHA recently expressed support for the Drug Shortage Prevention Act (H.R. 3839), legislation that would help identify critical drugs in short supply and give the Food and Drug Administration more authority and information to address the issue. “An improved national critical drug shortage list would help establish predictability in the supply chain, especially if additional information about severity, duration, reason for the shortage, and estimated time for resolution were made available to those in the supply chain,” AHA said in letters to Reps. John Carney (D-DE) and Larry Bucshon (R-IN), the bill’s sponsors. “The requirement that this list also identify alternative therapies would be useful for clinicians as they evaluate care alternatives to drugs in short supply. We also support provisions requiring improved communication and coordination between the FDA and the Attorney General regarding increasing production quotas on controlled substances related to drugs in shortage.”