The availability of needed medications has become a serious concern across the entire health care system, including ASCs.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for coordinating federal responses to drug shortages and, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the number of drugs in short supply has more than tripled since 2006. In 2012, Congress passed legislation called the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. This bill seeks to mitigate the drug shortage problem and has been credited with slowing the number of drugs added to the shortage list. When the FDA is notified of a potential shortage, it works with the pharmaceutical industry and other stakeholders to respond.
If your facility is having problems obtaining needed medications, please take the following actions.
Email the FDA. The agency will need the following information: the name and dosage of the medication in question and your geographic location.
For consumer complaints (and suspected price gouging), contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center:
Online: Use the online complaint form.
Phone: Call 877.FTC.HELP (877.382.4357) toll-free from 9:00am to 8:00pm EST, Monday through Friday.
Mail: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20580
The FDA needs the above information to determine the severity of the problem. Additionally, ASCA is closely monitoring the issue. If you suspect a shortage, please email Jeff Evans. To access the drug shortage database, click here.
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) provides information on drugs in short supply, as well as potential substitutions. It is recommended to consult with the appropriate personnel/board(s) at your facility in regards to utilizing substitutions.
FDA: Drug Shortages Information Page
FDA: Current Drug Shortages Database
ASHP: Drug Shortage Database
ASHP: Guidance on IV Bag Conservation
FDA: Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Shortages