Millions of prescriptions are processed every year in the U.S. Keeping track of these legal medications is a challenging task and it’s vital that we continue to improve the security of the nation’s pharmaceutical supply and ensure patient access to medicines is not impacted by shortages.
Patient access to medicines is vital for the health of patients and the economy. The issue of drug shortages demands attention and collaboration from everyone involved in providing life-saving medicines. This includes both the pharmaceutical companies producing brand-name medications and generic drug manufacturers, as well as wholesalers, distributors, pharmacies and health care providers.
Shortages affect less than 1 percent of all drugs on the market, and most shortages involve generic medicines, with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically calling attention to growing shortages among “older, sterile injectable drugs.” However, any shortage of medicines can deeply impact patients. Biopharmaceutical companies have worked to prevent drug shortages in advance, and will continue to work closely with the FDA to prevent manufacturing disruptions.
As a patient, it’s important to know the right steps to take if you are experiencing or anticipating a drug shortage. Patients concerned that their medicine may be in short supply have several options available, including visiting the FDA’s Current Drug Shortages website to see if the drug has been reported in short supply. You should also talk to your doctor about other medications that might be an effective substitute.