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In this PSNet Annual Perspective, we worked with co-authors Dr. Jacqueline C. Stocking, a quality improvement and critical care specialist, and Dr. Christian Sandrock, a patient safety professional and emerging infectious diseases specialist, to provide a look at news and research related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patient safety.

Bookwalter CM. US Pharmacist. 2021;46(2):25-28. 

 

COVID-19 has increased uncertainties in sectors across health care. This article discusses a variety of supply-chain factors that impact medication availability. The author suggests roles for pharmacists in antibiotic stewardship and policy implementation to manage shortages safely.
Miller FA, Young SB, Dobrow M, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2020;30:331-335.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about medical product shortages and demand surges, and the resulting effects on patient safety. This viewpoint discusses medical product supply chain vulnerabilities heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors summarize the evidence on supply chain resilience and medical product shortage, provide examples to illustrate key vulnerabilities, and discuss reactive and proactive solutions for medical product shortage.
Jazieh AR, Akbulut H, Curigliano G, et al. JCO Glob Oncol. 2020;6):1428-1438.
Patients with chronic health needs, including those with cancer, and their providers face numerous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Survey results from 356 health care centers across 54 countries indicate that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care is widespread. Many centers reported challenges in delivering care, reduction in services, lack of personal protective equipment, staffing shortages, and limited access to medications. Respondents also reported potential patient harm due to interruptions in cancer-specific and non-cancer care.
Piatek OI, Ning JC-min, Touchette DR. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020;7:1778-1785.
Drug shortages are an ongoing threat to safe patient care. This commentary discusses the impact of COVID-19 on medication supply and demand, and the resulting drug shortages. The authors provide several recommendations for reducing future drug shortages in times of crises, including increasing stockpiles and creating a critical drug list with potential substitutes.
Anna Legreid Dopp, Pharm. D is the Senior Director of Clinical Guidelines and Quality Improvement at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). We spoke with her about how pharmacist care delivery services have been impacted by COVID-19.
Girion L, Levine D, Respaut R. Reuters. 2020;June 9.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the supply of protective equipment, medical devices and medications. This article discusses how economics contribute to drug shortages and highlights the specific impact on access to the opioids essential for providing safe care for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices and US Food and Drug Administration Division of Drug Information. June 23, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic response is creating a need for care delivery adjustments that include changes in pharmacy and medication practices. This webinar discussed process alterations that have the potential to impact safe medication administration and provide context for the changes to help ensure they are effectively implemented.
Alexander GC, Qato DM. JAMA. 2020;324:31-32.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the pharmaceutical supply chain, from overseas manufacturing to medication distribution within the United States. This commentary presents several emergency response and preparedness measures for policymakers, pharmaceutical distributors and pharmacies to prepare for drug shortages and demand surges. Suggested measures include developing an “essential medicines” strategy, using allocation strategies that prevent stockpiling and drug shortages and expanding capacity for mail-order and home delivery.