Drug Shortages

For the past 15 years, drug shortages have been a persistent problem for hospitals and the patients they serve. Shortages can impact patient care, hospital financial health, staffing and information technology requirements – and in extreme cases can even lead to rationing, delaying, or canceling treatments or procedures.

In response, hospitals have been forced to implement time-consuming and costly measures to ensure they can continue to provide high-quality care for patients despite shortages of commonly prescribed, essential products. Our hospitals report that the products in short supply include opioid injectables, saline, sodium bicarbonate, sterile water, epinephrine, and dextrose – but new and other shortages occur regularly

The good news is that hospitals are acting proactively to address shortages and create a sustainable pipeline for accessing these essential products. In 2018, seven hospital systems, including an FAH member, founded Civica, a nonprofit generic drug company that seeks to prevent and mitigate the impact of drug shortages and the price spikes that can potentially accompany them. Civica, which now includes nearly 60 members, currently provides 80+ drugs, chosen by US hospitals for being at risk of a shortage, and has delivered more than 140 million containers of products to hospitals over the past five years, serving 60 million patients.

Additionally, we believe implementation of the following proposals would help avoid or mitigate the impacts of these persistent shortages:

  • Require drug manufacturers to report potential drug and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) shortages to the FDA
  • Incentivize domestic manufacturing, especially of generic drugs, hospital injectables, and hospital products to reduce dependency on foreign sources
  • Enhance transparency requirements for drug shortage information
  • Develop manufacturer drug shortage action plans
  • Better integrate FDA drug shortages list with outside resources