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PS-039 Drug shortages and medicines errors
  1. M Mañes Sevilla,
  2. E Lallana Sainz,
  3. B Rubio Cebrian,
  4. J Garcia Romero,
  5. M Vazquez Del Castillo,
  6. M Segura Bedmar
  1. Hospital Universitario Móstoles, Servicio de Farmacia, Móstoles Madrid, Spain


Background Drug shortages are caused by many factors, therefore medicines errors are reported. It is necessary to know how much health quality is a concern of clinical practice and how patient safety is involved.

Purpose To check out the drug supply problems; analyse the characteristics of drug shortages and assess their impact on a medium-sized hospital.

Material and methods A retrospective study of drug supply issues was conducted from September 2012 to September 2014. Variables analysed: type of drug, expected duration of the shortage and strategies. All data were exported from the National Drug Agency website. Drug purchases were gathered from a drug management application.

Results 172 drugs were affected by shortages. 19.77% of the drugs belonged to the digestive and metabolic group (mainly mineral supplements); 18.02% to the nervous system (mostly psycholeptics); 16.86% to the anti-infective group (primarily antibacterials); 11.05% to the cardiovascular system (predominantly beta blockers); 11.05% to the hormones group (mostly systemic corticosteroids). The expected length of the shortage was 235 days, although in 29% of cases, planned end date was not prompted. In 63.37% of the cases, the same drug was marketed by another firm so it could be obtained. 21.51% could be requested through other brands under special conditions, and in 15.12% the option was to look for a therapeutic alternative.

Conclusion The increasing frequency of drug shortages raises many difficulties and has a profound impact on patient safety and clinicians. Although it is impossible to predict for every drug shortage, establishing clear procedures and guidelines for managing drug shortages can improve patient safety, help prevent medicines errors and improve quality of care.


  1. Lee Ventola C. The drug shortage crisis in the United States. PT 2011;36(11):740–2,749–57

ReferenceNo conflict of interest.

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