Perioperative Drug Shortages: Reducing the Chance of Harm

August 8, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System


In perioperative settings, multidisciplinary planning can help organizations manage drug shortages, states an article in the August 2012 Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing. Although only about 70 shortages occurred each year from 2003 to 2006, the number of drug shortages increased from 129 in 2007 to a record high of 267 in 2011. Causes are often multifactorial and include quality and regulatory issues at pharmaceutical plants (including closures of entire plants), manufacturer discontinuation of a drug, and shortages or quality problems with raw ingredients. According to the author, drug shortages have plagued anesthesia care providers. The author’s hospital, for example, is experiencing shortages of 28 drugs used in perioperative care.

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