The lack of supply chain resilience in pharma is nothing new, and pharmacists and hospitals have been negotiating the problem for years. The task force set up in July that is focused on solving the problem has tossed out a range of solutions, including a national stockpile of critical medications. A retroactive study released last month of 1.3 billion prescription claims and a cohort of 1,114 generic drugs found that low-priced generic drugs were at a higher risk for drug shortages. Manufacturers have been quick to blame lack of regulatory clarity on the FDA. The FDA has said that it is playing with half a deck: It can’t force manufacturers to disclose the reasons for shortages. Chintan Dave, PharmD, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, the study’s author, said: “In the short term, the FDA should recognize that very low generic drug prices might be a factor in subsequent shortages and continue to consider the risk of shortages when taking steps to promote the safety and quality of the generic drug marketplace.” Check out this discussion of the problem and some of its causes.
“Rural folks are older, poorer, and sicker,” Brock Slabach, MPH, FACHE, senior vice-president for the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) told attendees last weekend at the 2018 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting. With widespread hospital closures and the rate of rural poverty higher than that of metropolitan areas, healthcare delivery faces a broad range of challenges. Family practice residency programs like this one in Pennsylvania are taking a shot at the problem. For pharmacies, opportunities presented by the shortage include medication therapy management (MTM) and counseling for chronic diseases. Here are some ideas being implemented across the pond. Check out these best practices for engaging with physicians through transitions of care states. In some states, remote dispensing is also legal. Thinking about leveraging telehealth in your pharmacy? Here are some “golden rules” for starting a program in your pharmacy and some considerations for policy development along the way.