Share of Cost, Despite Federal Legislation, Shortages Of Drugs Used In Acute Care Settings Remain Persistent And Prolonged
Early evidence suggests that provisions of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 are associated with reductions in the total number of new national drug shortages. However, drugs frequently used in acute unscheduled care such as the care delivered in emergency departments may be increasingly affected by shortages. Our estimates, based on reported national drug shortages from 2001 to 2014 collected by the University of Utah’s Drug Information Service, show that although the number of new annual shortages has decreased since the act’s passage, half of all drug shortages in the study period involved acute care drugs. Shortages affecting acute care drugs became increasingly frequent and prolonged compared with non–acute care drugs (median duration of 242 versus 173 days, respectively). These results suggest that the drug supply for many acutely and critically ill patients in the United States remains vulnerable despite federal efforts.