Background Drug shortages have become an increasing problem worldwide. Pharmacists are devoting more and more time to this issue and all classes of medicines are affected. Drug shortages can have a serious effect on patient care and drug costs.
Purpose Conducting such a study we are able to see how much of the pharmacists’ time is spent on dealing with drug shortage questions and what are the outcomes for patients. Having a good system for documenting drug shortages would ensure an easy way for pharmacists to track and record shortfall. Furthermore, it enables us to report back to the hospital and health care authorities.
Material and methods Drug shortages were recorded and analysed from April 2013 to September 2014 in a 900-bed hospital pharmacy.
To examine detailed information about the distribution, storage statuses and shortage durations of the drugs a statistics program AptStat, the State Agency of Medicines web page and the hospital pharmacy program were used. An approximate working time spent on dealing with shortage issues and effects on treatment outcomes were recorded.
Results During the documenting period 34 drug shortages were recorded in the pharmacy.
The shortages were caused by delivery problems (30%), production problems (32%) and other reasons such as rarely used. Unregistered medications took longer to deliver (38%).
The following solutions were used to overcome drug shortages: the drug was substituted with a different concentration (12%), another medicine (29%) but for 59% we had no substitute.
12% of the shortages reached patient level and had effect on treatment outcome. Pharmacists spent totally 21 extra working hours on shortages.
Conclusion This study confirmed that drug shortages cause problems for pharmacists and patients. Constant recording of causes and consequences of shortages is necessary for finding better solutions.
References and/or acknowledgements No conflict of interest.
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