ASHP to Offer Information on Clinical Alternatives to Manage Drug Shortages
Members of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) can now access clinically relevant and timely information on ways to manage drug shortages, thanks to an agreement between the Society and the Drug Information Service (DIS) at the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics.
The DIS has provided ASHP with information on current drug shortages and therapeutic alternatives that health systems can use to surmount diminishing drug inventories caused by changes in production, limited distribution programs, and shortages of raw materials. The information, which will be updated over time, is posted on a special dedicated page of www.ashp.org and sent to subscribers of the Society's weekly e-mail news service. ASHP's Web site will also feature links to relevant American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy articles, Food and Drug Administration alerts, information on educational meetings on the topic, and ASHP guidelines on dealing with shortages.
"Health-system pharmacists are often the first to be aware of drug shortages and are largely responsible for devising solutions," said ASHP President Mick L. Hunt, M.S., FASHP. "This new service will provide our members with the information they need to help guide their institutions through difficult situations."
ASHP Professional Practice Associate Joseph H. Deffenbaugh, M.P.H., who monitors national drug shortages for the Society, advises members to diligently monitor changes in inventories and analyze the usage rates of critical drug products. For items with limited alternatives, Deffenbaugh said, pharmacists should "think seriously about how much they have on hand and expand that just-in-time inventory flexibility."
ASHP's contact at the DIS, established in 1975 as a division of the University of Utah's Department of Pharmacy Services, is Pharmacy Manager Linda S. Tyler, Pharm.D. The department is located at University Hospital, a 400-bed, research-oriented tertiary care center in Salt Lake City. The Department of Pharmacy Services offers a pharmacy practice residency program and specialized residencies in drug information, primary care, and transplantation.
ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication-error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their delivery of pharmaceutical care, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.