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10/3/2003
Press Release

ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center Revamped, Relaunched

A new, improved version of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Drug Product Shortages Management Resource Center is now available to members and other health care professionals who need up-to-date, accurate information on alternatives for drug products that are in short supply.

Users of the online site (www.ashp.org/shortage) can now choose to search current drug shortage bulletins by generic name, therapeutic class, or most recent update. The latter feature, in particular, allows visitors to quickly check the site to see what is new.

In addition, names of drug products being tracked for availability are now listed on the front page, allowing users to see at first glance if ASHP has information about a particular medication. Joseph H. Deffenbaugh, M.P.H., R.Ph., director of public health and quality in ASHP’s Practice Standards and Quality Division, oversees the Web site’s ongoing development.

“We’re very happy to offer such a robust, accurate resource for our members and others who deal with the very real problems of shortages every day,” said Daniel M. Ashby, M.S., FASHP, president of ASHP. “Because drug shortages pose a significant threat to patient safety, we are absolutely committed to continuing our leadership role on this issue.”

Content for the resource center is developed by the Drug Information Services (DIS) at the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics. DIS researches clinically acceptable alternatives that health systems can use as substitutes for medications that have limited availability.

Novation, LLC, provides funding for the drug product shortage bulletin development, and Abbott Laboratories made available an educational grant to enhance the Web site’s drug database.

The Web site is just one of ASHP’s many initiatives to solve the ongoing shortage situation in the U.S. The Society has been tireless in its advocacy that the federal government, group purchasing organizations, and other stakeholders identify meaningful ways to solve this problem, including:

  • Partnering with the American Medical Association on a meeting for pharmaceutical industry stakeholders to find potential solutions. ASHP subsequently published and widely distributed the meeting’s findings. 
  • Teaming up with other organizations to address the problem. For example, ASHP is working with the Healthcare Distribution Management Association’s Drug Availability Task Force to prepare voluntary guidelines on various aspects of the pharmaceutical supply chain.   
  • Developing and publishing “ASHP Guidelines on Managing Drug Product Shortages,” believed to be the only guidelines of their kind for pharmacists.  
  • Partnering with The Johns Hopkins Hospital to conduct the first meaningful research on quantifying the extent of the problem and its impact on hospitals and health systems.   
  • Educating thousands of pharmacists on strategies to more effectively manage shortage problems and ensure safe and effective patient care via numerous educational sessions on the issue at ASHP meetings.  
  • Informing consumers, government agencies, and public health officials on the nature and magnitude of the problem. 

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 professional practice, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.  For more information, visit ASHP’s Web site, www.ashp.org or www.SafeMedication.com.