Linked to EAHP Statements
Section 1 - Introductory Statements and Governance: Statement 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5
Section 2 - Selection, Procurement and Distribution: Statement 2.1, 2.5
Section 3 - Production and Compounding: Statement 3.1
Section 4 - Clinical Pharmacy Services: Statements 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.8
Section 5 - Patient Safety and Quality Assurance: Statement 5.1, 5.2
Drug shortages are a cause of significant patient safety concerns. The results of the 2018 EAHP Medicines Shortages Survey underline that medicines shortages remain a major problem for patients in European hospitals. Clinical needs represent an estimate of an appropriate treatment strategy. In case of nonavailability of the right medicine, a number of risks have to be considered with the evaluations of substitute treatments. Drug product supply issues are a frequent problem affecting hospitals, healthcare organisations and health systems. Hospital pharmacists have a key- role in the pharmaceutical supply chain.
Managing drug product shortages is particularly complex for practitioners in hospitals and other acute care settings. Since these facilities routinely treat patients with acute or emergent conditions and use a significant number of medically necessary or single-source products, including high-cost new drugs and technologies.
Healthcare providers are challenged during drug shortages to ensure the provision of seamless, safe, and therapeutically equivalent drug therapy, preferably at comparable costs. Although, no leadership is seen from governments, to provide incentives and to line up interests.
Strategic planning is required for managing drug product shortages, just as it is for a physical disaster. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a framework for healthcare teams in patient care settings that can be used to develop policies and procedures which minimise the effects of drug shortages on quality of care. The most promising approach lies in the comprehensive approach involving all stakeholders to create a network within the medicines supply (COST Action CA15105 running 2016-2020).
The key to reduce adverse effects on patient care, healthcare organisation costs and prevent problems from escalating into crises can be found in the efficiency of information gathering, effective teamwork when assessing options, ability to rapidly make changes in information systems, and communication with patients, providers and administrators.
Hospital pharmacists can (and must) take a leadership role in the efforts to develop and implement appropriate strategies and processes for informing patients and all health care practitioners about shortages and ensuring the safe and effective use of therapeutic alternatives.
After the session, participants should be able to:
• recognise the drug shortages problem, evaluate the risk and be ready to actively provide inputs for improving shortages situations;
• identify and address the vulnerabilities of the supply chain;
• communicate good practices and new methodologies/strategies;
• manage shortages proactively.
Educational need addressed
Although there are different national challenges across Europe, hospital pharmacists should be able to identify and communicate good practices, harmonized patterns, commonalities and new strategies in order to have a stable supply chain.
Keywords: drug shortages, patient safety, risk of substitution, hospital pharmacist's challenges, procedures, improvement options, new methodologies, effective strategies, national approaches, risk management.