Mitigating the impact of drug shortages (2)

At Symbria Rx Services, helping you deliver the right medications to the right residents at the right time is our top priority. Although our pharmacy team makes every effort to minimize the impact of drug shortages on your community, we believe that it is important for you to know about drug shortages – and why they have begun to occur more frequently in recent years.

Underlying causes of drug shortages
Determining the cause of a particular drug shortage can be difficult; however, four issues cause most of the drug shortages in the United States:

  • Fewer drug makers. Many drug manufacturers are consolidating or exiting the market due to low margins. As a result, most medications on shortage lists are manufactured by only one or two companies. This provides little cushion when a production or quality problem develops during the manufacturing process.1

  • Inflexible manufacturing capabilities. Most manufacturers operate production lines at maximum capacity. This makes it hard to switch production schedules quickly when there is a product shortage.

  • Raw material and quality issues. Many raw materials are in short supply. In addition, recent FDA plant shutdowns due to quality issues have significantly reduced manufacturers' capacity.

  • Drug approval backlog. The FDA's first-time generic drug approval backlog is 36 to 48 months.

drug-shortagesWe understand that drug shortages can have a major impact on your community and residents. That's why we're adding a new "Major drug shortages" article to each edition of this newsletter to keep you up-to-date on all current/ongoing drug shortages that our pharmacy is experiencing – and to explain what we're doing to help mitigate any impact on your community.

For more information
We welcome your feedback on this topic. If you have comments or questions about drug shortages, please contact Director of Pharmacy Jay Mandra at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (630) 981-8091.

1 IMS Study Reveals Drug Shortages in U.S. Disruptive Yet Narrowly Concentrated, IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, November 14, 2011.