2/4/2014-- New research published this week by the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy (AJHP) reveals that shortages of oncology drugs continue to have a widespread and significant impact on patient care.
The article, “Impact of Shortages of Injectable Oncology Drugs on Patient Care,” by Jennifer Goldsack, M.Chem., M.A.(Oxon), M.S.; Cynthia Reilly, B.S.Pharm.; et al; is published online ahead of print at www.ajhp.org. The research was conducted by the Value Institute at Christiana Care Health System, the University of Pennsylvania, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).
The survey of 358 pharmacy directors at health systems throughout the U.S. who are members of ASHP asked participants about the extent to which their facilities were affected by oncology drug shortages, strategies for responding to shortages, and the effects of shortages on costs, patient safety, and outcomes.
Key findings include:
The study authors suggest that while there are limitations in the evidence base, there is a “pressing need to introduce practice guidelines for allocation decisions to support clinicians involved in the care of cancer patients.” The authors also recommend that allocation decisions include the input of pharmacists, who should have the support of their institutions’ ethics committees when making these choices.