Health Care Groups Recommend Long-Term Strategies to Ease Drug Shortages

Published Online: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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3/25/2014--  A group of health care organizations released a report evaluating and recommending long-term strategies addressing the ongoing drug shortages issue. The report, “2013 Drug Shortages Summit: Evaluating Long-Term Solutions,” summarizes the presentations, discussions and recommendations from the 2013 Summit, attended by more than 32 experts representing 18 stakeholder groups, including health care professionals and other non-profit organizations, industry, public interest, and government agencies.

This was the second Summit convened by the American Hospital Association, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. The Summit report recommendations focus on the importance of strategies to prevent shortages and encourage cooperation across traditional boundaries in order to solve this public health crisis.

The report recommends using multiple strategies to address this complex issue. Key recommendations for further exploration include:
  • Explore legislative options for incentives to prevent drug shortages, such as corporate tax credits and other incentives for manufacturers who maintain robust quality and facility maintenance programs.
  • Determine better methods of forecasting demand, including improved understanding of how variations in demand as well as planned temporary manufacturing reductions can affect shortages.
  • Enhance current Food and Drug Administration (FDA) efforts to analyze drug shortages data to spot trends and risk factors in order to better identify potential supply issues and resolve problems with manufacturers before a shortage occurs. This strategy aligns with a key recommendation from the recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, “GAO Report to Congressional Addressees on Drug Shortages: Public Health Threat Continues, Despite Efforts to Ensure Product Availability.”
  • Explore establishing a list of critical drugs, similar to the World Health Organization’s Model Lists of Essential Medicines, for prioritizing drug shortage resolution efforts.
  • Engage payers, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, in exploring reimbursement-related factors affecting product availability and developing reimbursement-related solutions for drug shortages.
  • Accelerate and streamline the Drug Enforcement Agency’s controlled substance quota approval procedures.

Summit participants continue to explore these recommendations to prevent and mitigate drug shortages.
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