Hospital pharmacy teams can't afford to fight with drugmakers, Ochsner leader says

The pharmacy team at New Orleans-based Ochsner Health is "pretty much begging" drug companies for critical drugs that are in short supply, according to Ryan Pepper, assistant vice president of pharmacy supply chain. 

Mr. Pepper said some other health systems have a combative relationship with drug manufacturers, but flipping those relations can help secure needed drugs for patients, such as cisplatin and carboplatin. 

"When you have that relationship, when you've built that over years and you're able to tell them, 'I have 117 patients on cisplatin. We're going to run out by Tuesday; we can't get anything,' that's helped prove the urgency to them," Mr. Pepper said. "It really helped us here to be able to go to these manufacturers and tell them, 'Hey, I've got 66 patients on methotrexate.' That's what the manufacturers want."

While being careful not to disclose personal information, Ochsner sometimes sends lists of how many patients are on a drug in shortage to speed up the approval process, too.

He recommended organizations allow some time to drugmaker representatives — such as 30 minutes twice a year since "we're all really busy" — and going to trade shows to jump-start those relationships.

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