25% of current drug shortages are more than 5 years old

In early 2023, the number of drug shortages hit a 10-year high. A fourth of these shortages are more than five years old, and 58% are older than two years, according to a new report.

IQVIA Institute, a healthcare solutions company, evaluated FDA drug shortage information plus sales and volume data. On Nov. 15, IQVIA released a report showing that three-fourths of current drug shortages are older than a year.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists is also tracking 20 ongoing drug shortages that have lasted eight years. 

Here are three key takeaways from the IQVIA report:

1. The trend of resolved shortages lacks a steady pattern, and most shortages ended during the second and third year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. Shortages are more common in the cheapest drugs. More than 50% cost less than $1, and 1.3% are priced more than $500 per unit.

3. Cancer drug shortages have been growing since 2020. As of mid-2023, cisplatin, methotrexate, capecitabine and carboplatin supply issues caused the most disruption in patient care. Despite this, the volume of shortages accounted for only 9% of the total oncology volume in June, and oncology volume is up 6% from June 2022.


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