Average drug shortage duration jumps to 3+ years, report finds

The average duration of drug shortages has increased by nearly a full year since 2020, according to a new report from U.S. Pharmacopoeia. 

The report is based on 2014-23 drug shortage data from the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.  

As of November 2020, the average duration of a drug shortage was 733 days, or about two years. This duration increased to 1,202 days — or 3.3 years — as of December 2023, according to the report. 

"Increased durations of drug shortages should be concerning as they impact patient care, prolonging or hindering access to drugs," USP said in the report. "Persistence in drug shortages are due to the compounding economic forces, as discussed in many studies, and the market’s inability to resolve with traditional market economy responses." 

USP also noted the report may not account for all drug shortages as the FDA's database primarily lists medically necessary products. 

View the full report here.

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