How healthcare facilities can cope with drug shortages


During the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it is now difficult for suppliers to meet the growing demand for drugs and medicines. As a result, healthcare facilities are now struggling to provide prescription drugs to patients, leading them to consider the use of alternative agents instead. This drug shortage has become a problem that greatly affects the quality of patient care.

Unfortunately, the pandemic is not expected to end very soon. Thus, healthcare facilities should do their best to cope with this drug shortage, for example by doing the following:

1. Partnership with 503B outsourcing facilities

If you are unfamiliar with 503B outsourcing facilities, these are facilities that produce large amounts of medication with or without a patient’s prescription. These drugs are then resold to health establishments, especially those in shortage of drugs.

We can also say that the 503B facilities are stations that produce drugs currently in short supply. It should be noted that these drugs are made with lower cost ingredients, which would mean that by partnering with 503B facilities, hospitals and other healthcare facilities will not only get their hands on more drugs and drugs, but will also save them money in the process.

Also, since these facilities are tested by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is safe to assume that all products from these stations are acceptable. If you are interested you can go directly at the source. This should give you a better idea of ​​what and how 503B outsourcing facilities work.

2. Establish open lines of communication

African chemist researcher typing information into computer from an experimental drug trial. Black health scientist in biochemistry lab wearing sterile equipment.

Most health facilities get their supplies from wholesalers or distributors. For this reason, there is a good chance that there is a scheduled date to complete the facility’s inventory. Since the number of patients is higher than ever, there will be times when the supply of prescription drugs runs out sooner than expected, which can disrupt operations.

One way to keep the facility operational is to establish open lines of communication with the supplier. This allows health facilities to inform their suppliers of the facility’s current inventory and demand for drugs currently in demand. Likewise, wholesalers and distributors are encouraged to do the same.

3. Involvement of clinicians and pharmacists

Informing the provider of the healthcare facility is obvious, given its direct impact on the functionality of the facility. However, involving clinicians and pharmacists is also one of the many ways to deal with drug shortages.

To begin with, these health professionals are responsible for identifying existing problems in a health facility, an example of which is drug shortages. Therefore, they are able to take measures to minimize the effect of such problems. Examples of actions they can take include developing action plans, performing an impact assessment, and assessing the operational needs of the facility. For this, they will need sufficient data on the underlying problem.

However, healthcare facilities may face drug shortages by involving pharmacists and clinicians, including collecting data, monitoring drug shortages and providing them to these people.

4. Restriction of unofficial suppliers

Prescription drugs and medications usually come from FDA approved establishments, such as pharmacists and 503B establishments. But some organizations provide drugs without following FDA guidelines. These are what they call unofficial suppliers or gray markets. Although some sell acceptable drugs, there is no way to be sure, so it is often best to restrict purchases from these groups. However, due to recent drug shortages, unofficial suppliers are becoming increasingly attractive to healthcare facilities. Still, that shouldn’t be the way to go.

On the one hand, these suppliers often mishandle drugs and medications. In some cases, their products can be contaminated, which can put patients at risk. On that note, healthcare facilities should avoid approaching such providers, no matter how serious the situation. Additionally, since these unofficial suppliers may have infiltrated distributors and wholesalers, it is important to recheck a supplier’s credibility before receiving their products.

5. Prohibit storage

While you may be struggling with the current situation of drug shortage, it is important to remember that healthcare facilities around the world are also suffering from the same problem. That said, nothing good will come from storing a particular drug once it becomes available. Not only will this ruin the balance within the local healthcare system, but it would also make that particular healthcare facility an unwanted customer for distributors and wholesalers, hampering the facility’s growth in the future.

Final words

Drug shortages have always been a problem in healthcare facilities, but it was not bad enough for healthcare facilities to take drastic measures to improve their inventory management. However, with the ongoing pandemic, healthcare facilities now have a reason to finally budge.

Since there is no guarantee that the drug shortage situation will end immediately even after this pandemic has subsided, improving the facility’s inventory system will go a long way to assisting operations in the future.

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