Drug shortfalls are among the most acute problems that a healthcare system’s supply chain faces. Shortages—which in recent years are decreasing in number overall, but taking longer to resolve—present a significant risk to public health. Consequences can include delayed treatment of patients or, less often, denial of therapy altogether.
Though supply chain and pharmacy professionals are in agreement that shortage of any drug is cause for concern, the ongoing deficit of intravenous (IV) solution has challenged providers on a new scale. The combination of the fluid’s widespread clinical use and 18 straight months of supply scarcity have tested contingency plans and resourcefulness. To learn more about how organizations have handled the shortage, The Academy spoke with the director of an academic health system's drug information service, and individuals at several other health systems.
The shortage, the academic health system's director says, is the most “expansive” ever. “Most shortages are drugs that affect a certain number of patients,” she says. “In general, we don’t have shortages that affect every patient. But that’s what the shortage of IV solution does. It impacts every patient.”