School of Medicine and Health Sciences Poster Presentations

Title

Shortage of Neurological Therapeutics: An Escalating Threat to Patient Care

Document Type

Poster

Publication Date

4-2017

Abstract

Background:

Drug shortages are a well-recognized and growing threat to patient care, and can lead to the potential for substitutions of medications that are less effective and may delay critical treatments. Shortages have not been assessed for therapies for neurological conditions.

Objective:

We assess longitudinal trends in the shortages of generic drugs used for neurological conditions over a fifteen-year period in the United States.

Methods:

Drug shortage data from the University of Utah Drug Information Service (UUDIS) from 2001 to 2015 were analyzed. Medications were defined as those likely to be prescribed by a neurologist to treat a primary neurological condition or critical for care of a patient with a neurological condition. Trends in shortage length were assessed using standard descriptive statistics.

Results:

A total of 2,081 drug shortages were reported by UUDIS and 311 (15%) involved medications for neurological conditions. After excluding discontinued products, 291 shortages were analyzed. The median number of neurological drugs in shortage was 21 per month (median 7.4 per month). From 2001 to 2009, the number of neurological drugs in shortage never exceeded 25 in any month. However, beginning in 2009, shortages rose steadily, reaching a high of 50 in December 2012 and 50 again in December 2014. By the end of the study period, 30 neurological drugs remained in shortage. In over half the shortages, manufacturers did not provide a reason for the shortage. When reported, manufacturing delays, followed by supply/demand issues, raw material shortages, regulatory issues and business decisions were cited.

Conclusion:

Caring for patients with neurological conditions is becoming increasingly compromised by U.S. drug shortages. Manufacturers, together with professional organizations, patient advocacy groups, and the government needs to continue to address this issue, which will escalate with a growing burden of neurological disease.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Open Access

1

Comments

Poster to be presented at GW Annual Research Days 2017.

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Shortage of Neurological Therapeutics: An Escalating Threat to Patient Care

Background:

Drug shortages are a well-recognized and growing threat to patient care, and can lead to the potential for substitutions of medications that are less effective and may delay critical treatments. Shortages have not been assessed for therapies for neurological conditions.

Objective:

We assess longitudinal trends in the shortages of generic drugs used for neurological conditions over a fifteen-year period in the United States.

Methods:

Drug shortage data from the University of Utah Drug Information Service (UUDIS) from 2001 to 2015 were analyzed. Medications were defined as those likely to be prescribed by a neurologist to treat a primary neurological condition or critical for care of a patient with a neurological condition. Trends in shortage length were assessed using standard descriptive statistics.

Results:

A total of 2,081 drug shortages were reported by UUDIS and 311 (15%) involved medications for neurological conditions. After excluding discontinued products, 291 shortages were analyzed. The median number of neurological drugs in shortage was 21 per month (median 7.4 per month). From 2001 to 2009, the number of neurological drugs in shortage never exceeded 25 in any month. However, beginning in 2009, shortages rose steadily, reaching a high of 50 in December 2012 and 50 again in December 2014. By the end of the study period, 30 neurological drugs remained in shortage. In over half the shortages, manufacturers did not provide a reason for the shortage. When reported, manufacturing delays, followed by supply/demand issues, raw material shortages, regulatory issues and business decisions were cited.

Conclusion:

Caring for patients with neurological conditions is becoming increasingly compromised by U.S. drug shortages. Manufacturers, together with professional organizations, patient advocacy groups, and the government needs to continue to address this issue, which will escalate with a growing burden of neurological disease.