Drug Shortages

The Intricacies of Drug Shortages Impacting Pharmacies

Discover how SureCost can help you diversify vendors, automate orders and stay prepared to navigate drug shortages with ease.

The Intricacies of Drug Shortages Impacting Pharmacies
Danielle Dinglasan

Danielle Dinglasan

Product Marketing Manager at SureCost

Drug shortages are a significant challenge for pharmacies across the country. From local community pharmacies to large-scale pharmaceutical manufacturers, the impact of these shortages reverberates across the entire healthcare ecosystem.

According to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the number of active drug shortages reached a new peak of 301 in the first quarter of 2023, the highest since 2014.

This blog post will discuss drug shortages, including what causes them, the consequences, and ways to mitigate them.

Drug shortages are not a novel occurrence, yet their frequency and severity have escalated in recent years. The intricate network of factors contributing to shortages includes manufacturing issues, regulatory hurdles, supply chain disruptions, and unexpected demand spikes. While some shortages are temporary, others persist, creating prolonged dilemmas for healthcare providers and patients alike.

The Ripple Effect

The repercussions of drug shortages extend far beyond the pharmacy counter. Patient care may be compromised, leading to suboptimal outcomes and increased costs. Shortages can cause tension between pharmacists, prescribers and patients, leading to frustration due to limited options and delays.

Navigating the Challenges

Pharmacy owners and professionals must adopt proactive strategies to mitigate the impact of drug shortages. Establishing robust communication channels with suppliers and regulatory agencies is essential for early detection and response. Additionally, implementing inventory management techniques and smarter purchasing technologies like SureCost can help buffer against disruptions in the drug supply chain.

Pharmacists are uniquely positioned to leverage technology and data analytics to anticipate and manage shortages more effectively. Pharmacy owners can use technology to track inventory, predict shortages, and monitor in real-time. This helps them anticipate and minimize the impact of potential shortages.

Automated systems, pharmacy owners can take proactive steps to prevent disruptions in their supply chain. Furthermore, exploring alternative sourcing options, such as compounding pharmacies and international suppliers, can provide temporary relief during periods of scarcity.

Relying on a Single Source for All of your Products Is Risky. 

The more you diversify your vendors, the more options you’ll have in the event of a shortage. Make sure your COGS don’t increase from expanding your vendors, and that you have multiple vendor agreements in place that include specials and negotiated prices. With SureCost, you can see real-time availability of each item for each vendor, and avoid wasting time having to place an order with a vendor, then being told later on that it’s out of stock.

Consider Equivalent Products and Find Them Quickly and Easily with SureCost

From generic to brands to package sizes, unit of use and unit dose, SureCost provides a consolidated view of all purchasing options within a product group.

The Importance of Pharmacy Automation

Receiving the incorrect items or missing quantities can easily escalate into backorders. Automating replenishment orders when you’re low on stock will help avoid those backorders. With SureCost, you can automatically set Min/Max values based on usage and days-supply requirements.

For pharmacies with multiple locations, SureCost helps you identify stale or slow moving products and automate transfers to other locations. You can also automate tracking every step of the way from submission to receiving your items.

If you'd like to see SureCost in action and how it helps you mitigate the impact of drug shortages, book a free demo with us today!

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