52% of Hospitals, Pharmacists Buy Drugs From "Gray Market"

Due to drug shortages, 52 percent of hospital supply chain employees and pharmacists have been forced to buy drugs from the "gray market," according to ISMP research.

The gray market consists of drug suppliers that are somehow able to obtain supplies of scarce drugs and sell them at exorbitant costs, sometimes with mark-ups as high as 650 percent, according to previous studies.

An ISMP survey of nearly 550 hospital purchasing agents and pharmacists revealed the following key findings:

•    More than half (56 percent) of all respondents reported receiving daily solicitations from up to 10 different gray market vendors.
•    About half (52 percent) of all respondents reported purchasing one or more pharmaceutical products from gray market vendors in the past two years, largely due to drug shortages.
•    The most common reasons respondents did not purchase medications (48 percent) from gray market vendors during the past two years were concerns with authenticity (74 percent), ethical concerns (66 percent), cost (69 percent) and concerns about the storage conditions prior to purchase (58 percent).
•    Approximately one-third of critical access and community hospitals reported regularly seeing gray market mark-ups of 900 percent.

Related Articles on Drug Shortages:

Oncologists Form Non-Profit to Combat Cancer Drug Shortage
Hospital Drug Shortage Survey Mirrors Results of American Society of Anesthesiologists Survey
4 Strategies to Manage the Drug Shortage From Dr. John Dombrowski

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