How to Deal with Drug Shortages

The numbers are alarming! Drug shortages are up twenty times, in ten years.

The pharmacists feel overwhelmed because they find themselves alone to face unhappy patients.

How to Deal with Drug Shortages.

The art of "getting by"

While waiting for the implementation of structuring actions, pharmacists "manage" to never leave the patient without a solution.

There are various possibilities. At first, there is solidarity between pharmacies.

Furthermore, when a product is back on stock, it often happens that pharmacists put a few boxes aside and do not deliver all of the drugs listed on the prescription, in case a particularly vulnerable patient would need it, or to inform the doctors about the drug shortage and change the patient prescription.

Substitution: an expected measure

The pharmacist is authorized to substitute drugs of major therapeutic interest in the event of drug shortages, without prior advice from the doctor.

But sometimes, the pharmacist replaces a missing drug with another, which, eventually, will also run out...

This is the domino effect of substitution.

The preparatory: a remedy for shortages

Reconnecting with masterful preparation, is in the historic heart of the pharmacist's profession.

Thanks to pharmacies that have a preparatory course or via subcontracting organized between colleagues, patients have access to a preparation that meets their needs in less than 1-2 working days.

No other solution can be implemented within the same timeframe.

The preparation with suitable dosages is fast and reassuring.

When the pharmacist is out of a product, he searches his portal for colleagues in his sector, who have the drug in their stock.

Drug shortages: changes implemented

Τhe “DP-ruptures” tool improves the management of supply disruptions, by streamlining the transmission of information between pharmacists in the drug circulation.

Its generalization will make it possible to have a snapshot of stocks, everywhere in the country at no time, and to measure the effectiveness of the actions put in place to fight against shortages.

Current solutions

You are facing a significant increase in drug shortages, which negatively affects your patients and your image.

So, what viable solutions are in place?

In the event of drug shortages, firstly talk with other pharmacists and ask for the particular drug.

If you still cannot find it, you can contact the distributor company and ask when the drug will be back on stock.

Of course, you should always contact the doctor in order to prescribe a different medication to the patient.

In case the doctor cannot be reached, refer the patient to another doctor urgently.

Worldwide solutions

The pharmacist devotes an average of 5 to 6 hours per week in managing drug shortages, trying to order inaccessible specialties or contacting prescribers.

In some countries, there are collaborative websites between pharmacists to respond to drug shortages.

They are free and fraternal devices which are based on information sharing about network pharmacy stock.

When the pharmacist is out of a product, he searches his portal for colleagues in his sector, who have the drug in their stock.

Pharmacies are immediately geolocated on a map and the pharmacist simply has to call one of them to reserve the product.

Then, he can send the customer to his colleague or bring this product to his own pharmacy.


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