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Drug shortage affecting patient's life

Updated: Jul 6

Drug shortage, medication delay.





Pharmacists are sounding the alarm as drug shortages in the United States hit a record high. In the first quarter of 2024, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Utah Drug Information Service identified 323 active medication shortages. This figure surpasses the previous high of 320 shortages recorded in 2014. The ASHP began monitoring shortages in 2001.



Each point represents the number of active shortages at the end of each quarter.

University of Utah Drug Information Service



ADHD Medications on Shortage


Dr. Paul Abramowitz, CEO of ASHP, noted that the nationwide shortage of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medications continues to be a significant concern for both clinicians and patients. One of the affected medications is Adderall. This shortage, which initially began in late 2022 due to a manufacturing delay, is now driven by heightened demand as of early 2024, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA can employ various strategies to help manufacturers increase supply during a shortage, such as expediting the review process for supplements that boost the supply of active ingredients or increasing production capacity. However, specific actions cannot be disclosed as they are considered confidential, an FDA representative told ABC News.

Drug shortages have been a persistent problem in the U.S. for over a decade, exacerbated recently by the COVID-19 pandemic, as highlighted in a March 2023 Senate Homeland Security Committee report. The report noted that medication shortages often lead to delayed treatments, substitutions, or in some cases, no treatment at all.

During a House Ways and Means Committee hearing earlier this year, experts, including healthcare professionals, researchers, and pharmaceutical executives, testified that drug shortages also have financial consequences, as patients may need to switch to more expensive alternatives.

Solutions?

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) is collaborating with the federal government to provide advice to HHS agencies on addressing drug shortages and advocating for measures to help alleviate the crisis. They recommend that Congress mandate greater transparency from manufacturers regarding supply chain challenges and promote a more diversified supply chain. However, the ASHP has expressed reservations about a proposal from the Department of Health & Human Services that would impose financial penalties on hospitals lacking sufficient resources to stockpile medications.

“There is still significant work to be done at the federal level to address the root causes of drug shortages,” emphasized Dr. Paul Abramowitz. “ASHP will continue to engage with policymakers to guide the drafting and passage of new legislation, while strongly advocating for practical solutions on behalf of our members.”

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