While drug shortages continue to impact almost every facility across the country, this year saw a decrease in the number of shortages and in the amount of staff time dedicated to shortage management. Nonetheless, the length of ongoing shortages requires significant resources to manage the various downstream effects. Fortunately, most facilities (70%) have marshalled sufficient resources to address these ongoing challenges.
This year saw a drop in the percentage of facilities assigning dedicated staff to address drug shortages, from 53% to 47%, meaning this is no longer a majority practice. It will be interesting to see if these numbers rebound once staffing levels are no longer affected by the pandemic.
The amount of time facilities must dedicate to shortage management continues to trend downward. Three-quarters of all facilities spend no more than 10 hours per week addressing drug shortages.
The cost of responding to shortages stresses both budgets and staffing assignments. Most pharmacies were forced to increase pharmacy workloads, drug expenditures, and on-hand inventory in order to address drug shortages this year.
While pharmacy buyers are typically tasked with managing drug shortages, this year saw an increasing number of pharmacists take on these duties.
Those facilities struggling to address shortages are typically in need of additional staff and more storage space.
Despite the drop in the number of facilities with dedicated staff responding to drug shortages, most facilities (70%) are confident that they have sufficient resources to manage shortages.
When shortages require drug allocations, medical ethicists are rarely involved in the decision-making process. Just 10% of facilities have relied on the input of a medical ethicist for determining allocations over the past year.