Welcome to Spring of 2018, known throughout the world as the season of drug shortages. In this same spirit of shortages, I’ll keep my comments very brief in this issue. In fact, I’d like to use this as an opportunity to ask questions. We all know that recent drug and fluid shortages have made it extraordinarily difficult to provide optimal patient care in every situation. In large part, our role as pharmacists is to get creative in these difficult times and to find unique solutions in the face of shortages. The problem that we now see, however, is that as one drug is added to the shortage list there is an increased utilization of alternative agents which leads to that agent being added in turn. It’s this problem that’s led me to sit in the corner, quietly rocking back and forth while mumbling incoherently as ketamine has now been added to this infernal list due to increased utilization stemming from the opioid shortage. And I’m not even going to get started on the impact that the fluid shortages have had on our ability to practice. What I want to do, however, is to tap into the collective brilliance of Missouri pharmacists to find out how you’re managing your practice in this challenging time. So my questions to you are:
Which shortage(s) have impacted your practice most profoundly?
How have you changed your practice in light of shortage(s)?
Are there any unique steps you or your institution have taken to mitigate the impact of shortages?
What have you learned and what advice would you offer to others that could help navigate this problem?
I would love to hear about the challenges you’ve faced, the lessons you’ve learned, and the successes you’ve realized and would really like to showcase what you’ve done to manage this growing problem. Please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know! Although we may not be able to directly solve the problem (unless one of you is getting ready to cut the ribbon on a new drug manufacturing facility), we can work together to share our knowledge and collectively try to minimize the impact of drug shortages. When we work together there’s really no problem we can’t solve…except maybe finding the solution to creating an effective single stage to orbit, boost glide, sustained hypersonic platform (sorry, I have to release my inner aviation dork at least once per article).
Thanks and stay strong!
Jeremy P. Hampton, PharmD, BCPS
President – Missouri Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Clinical Associate Professor
University of Missouri- Kansas City School of Pharmacy
Clinical Specialist - Emergency Medicine
Truman Medical Center
As a side note, it feels like this is the worst that shortage problem has ever been. I was very interested to learn, however, that from a numbers standpoint the problem of drug shortages has actually improved since 2009. And here we thought we had it bad back in 2006…
Source: University of Utah Drug Information Service
Contact: Erin.Fox@hsc.utah.edu, @foxerinr for more information.