Background Drug shortages can occur for many reasons including manufacturing, quality problems, delays and discontinuations. Nowadays, the number of drug shortages is increasing and finding solutions for them is fundamental.
Purpose To analyse drug shortages that have affected the hospital in the 3 months from June to August, and the pharmaceutical actions carried out to solve them.
Material and methods Retrospective observational study in which drug shortages reported between June and August 2018, were analysed. A list of all the specialties with shortage problems in these 3 months was obtained from the Agencia Española del Medicamento y Productos Sanitarios. Those which affected directly or indirectly our tertiary hospital were chosen. The following variables were collected: drug involved, therapeutic group, if the drug shortage was active or solved, time in resolution and pharmaceutical actions implemented to solve them.
Results From 504 drug shortages reported in our country from June to August, 264 affected directly or indirectly our hospital: 136 active ingredients were involved in this list. The therapeutic group most affected was antibiotics, reaching 20% of the total number of drug shortages reported in the hospital, followed by antineoplastics with 13%.
A total of 78 (30%) of the drug shortages were resolved up to September. The average time for resolution was 66 days. In contrast, 186 (70%) drug shortages still remain active, of which 107 (41%) have an expected date of resolution.
Depending on the pharmaceutical action taken against drug shortages, in 81 (49%) cases it was necessary to change the specialty to one with the same active ingredient and pharmaceutical form, contrasting with 20 (12%) cases in which the pharmaceutical form needed to change. In six (4%), an alternative medicine was proposed with a different active ingredient. Greater control of the stock was required for 39 (23%) specialties. A foreign medicine was imported in 12 (7%) cases. In a minority of cases, the size of the medical packaging was changed to another with no supply problems (3%), a magistral formula was performed (2%) and a specialty was bought for outpatient dispensing.
Conclusion There is a high number of drug shortages that suggest a problem for our hospital. The role of the pharmacist is fundamental in managing them. In most cases, it was possible to switch between specialties as there were several interchangeable ones on the market.
References and/or acknowledgements I wish to thank my work team for their contribution to this project.
No conflict of interest.
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