Drug shortages update: 5 things to know

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Jan. 24 updated its statistics on drug shortages to include data from 2019. 

5 takeaways:

  1. There were 166 new drug shortages in 2019, down from 186 in 2018.

  2. The majority of shortages (61 percent) were for noninjectable drugs.

  3. The total number of active shortages in 2019 was 1,087, up from 915 in 2018.

  4. The majority of shortages in 2019 were for central nervous system drugs, which treat such conditions as insomnia, anxiety and stress. The next highest number of shortages fell under the antimicrobials category.

  5. The cause of most shortages (82 percent) was unknown, as a significant number of suppliers would not provide a reason. But the FDA's drug shortage task force report attributes more than 60 percent of shortages to manufacturer quality issues.

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