Drug Shortage…then and now

In September of 2010, I posted a blog about drug shortages, the good and the bad.  Then, according to ISMP, the drug shortage problem has risen to the level of a national public health crisis. Click here for this blog post.

Fast forward to September 2011…not only do we still have the same drug shortage problem, now there are 15 deaths reported resulting from this problem.According to this news report, the nine deaths and 10 patients harmed in Alabama due to bacterial contamination of a hand-mixed batch of liquid nutrition given via feeding tubes was because the sterile pre-mixed liquid wasn’t available.

The seriousness of the drug shortage was expressed by a patient who is on chemotherapy. She writes that she worries whether she would be the ‘”lucky one” to get the chemo drug on the shortage list. (click here for article) If she gets her chemo drug, that could mean some unlucky patients may not have received theirs. Many patients have express the same concerns about the shortage of their life saving drugs while their physicians are faced with difficult decisions.

The problem isn’t getting better this year….let’s just hope next year, there will be less drugs on the shortage list and better outcomes for our patients.