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Whitaker B. CBS News. May 22, 2022.

Drug shortages represent a complex system level challenge in health care that can harm patients. This news segment details economic and production factors that affect the availability of generic medications. Clinicians and families were interviewed to share tactics for managing these situations to support patient safety despite shortages.
Lin MP, Vargas-Torres C, Shin-Kim J, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2022;53:135-139.
Drug shortages can result in patient harm, such as dosing errors from a medication substitution. In this study, 28 of the 30 most frequently used medications in the emergency department experienced shortages between 2006 and 2019. The most common reasons for shortages were manufacturing delays and increased demand. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pre-existing drug shortages.

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.
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.
Alpert A, Jacobson M. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2019;106:415-421.
Drug shortages have become more frequent and may lead to delays in treatment or failure to deliver the appropriate drug, an error of omission. This secondary data analysis examined how oncology drug shortages affected use of chemotherapy medications among patients with newly diagnosed cancer as measured by Medicare claims data. The changes in utilization varied by medication; overall, drug shortages had only a modest impact on the delivery of these drugs to patients with newly diagnosed cancer. This finding contrasts with a prior study showing patient harm related to drug shortages, and the authors recommend further study to understand how to identify and mitigate clinically relevant drug shortages. A WebM&M commentary discussed strategies for preventing or minimizing adverse events associated with drug shortages.
National Alert Network. Horsham, PA: Institute for Safe Medication Practices; Bethesda, MD: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. May 24, 2018.
Drug shortages can necessitate hospitals to find alternative sources for important medications. This alert raises awareness of risks associated with potassium chloride use due to variations in labeling, packaging, or concentration of outsourced medications. Recommendations include use of barcode scanning and communicating with staff regarding drug shortages.
University of Utah Drug Information Service; ASHP; American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.
Efforts to limit the availability of opioids has led to a shortage of needed medications. This fact sheet provides strategies for organizations who seek to improve management of injectable opioids while taking into account both safety and supply availability.
Institute for Safe Medication Practices; ISMP.
Drug shortages can contribute to treatment delays and complications that lead to patient harm. This survey sought insights from hospital directors of pharmacy regarding their experiences with drug shortages over the past 6 months. 
Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2015.
Drug shortages have the ability to affect the patient safety in emergency departments, oncology services, and pediatrics. This report discusses the consequences of drug shortages, approaches different countries are taking to reduce their occurrence, and strategies such as proactive identification of potential supply limitations and collective agreements to manage shortages.
Hughes KM, Goswami ES, Morris JL. J Pediatr Pharmacol Ther. 2015;20:453-61.
Drug shortages can result in safety consequences, as studies have shown a higher rate of treatment failure and increased adverse events associated with unavailability of first-line therapies. However, this study did not find any change in adverse events in pediatric intensive care unit patients during a shortage of commonly used sedatives and injectable opioid pain medications. The authors note that advance warning of the shortage and development of standardized algorithms for drug substitution may have mitigated the potential safety hazards.
Storey MA, Weber RJ, Besco K, et al. Nutr Clin Pract. 2016;31:211-7.
Parenteral nutrition (PN) can result in patient harm if prepared or administered improperly. Recent shortages of PN ingredients have forced pharmacies to deviate from guidelines for safe PN preparation, but this study found that the incidence of errors has not increased.