Hospital Drug Shortages During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Patrick Yoder, PharmD, LogicStream Health CEO, was recently published in Advance for Nurses, discussing hospital drug shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the article, Yoder outlines how drug shortages were a prevailing problem ahead of the novel coronavirus outbreak and were considered a ‘chronic, ongoing crisis with no end in sight.’ As has been the case historically, natural disasters can have long-term effects on the pharmacy supply chain, as evidenced by the shortages following Hurricane Maria in 2018.

Compounding the problem in the current situation is the reliance on foreign countries, namely China, Italy and India, in supplying generic medications and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to the United States. As those countries experience a disruption in their manufacturing processes, it has an extended impact on the supply chain for the U.S. pharmaceutical market. One expert, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, has shared that he thinks the list of drugs that could be at risk is much larger than the 20 sole-sourced drugs that are at risk because they are produced only in China.

Below is a condensed version of the six keys to managing shortages in the current environment. Read the full article to get all the details:

  1. Early warning
  2. Build a watch list
  3. Know your electronic systems
  4. Communicate, communicate, communicate
  5. Know your inventory and update it often
  6. Document all process, workflow, communication and inventory changes enacted during the shortage

More detail is provided on each of these six keys in the article. If you’re interested in learning more about drug shortage management with Drug Shortage Navigator from LogicStream Health™, click here.