Hospitals are rationing lifesaving meds amid shortages, study finds

A majority of hospital pharmacists in the U.S. deal with at least 50 drug shortages each year, which often results in rationing lifesaving medications, a new study published in JAMA found.

For the 2018 study cited in an article by Reuters, researchers asked 719 pharmacists at small and large hospitals and academic medical centers across the nation about shortages at their organizations.

Every pharmacist reported at least one drug shortage in the last year, while 69 percent had dealt with at least 50.

More than 30 percent of pharmacists said their hospital had to ration drugs or deny medication to some patients who needed them in the last year. Eighty percent of pharmacists said they have hoarded a medicine in short supply  in the last year.

Most often, pharmacists said they had less than a month to prepare for dwindling supplies before an active shortage. About 33 percent of them said their hospitals had no procedure in place to help them respond to a shortage.

Currently, 226 medicines ranging from cancer drugs to heart medications are in short supply, according to the report.

Read the full report here.

 

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