Wayne Russell and Jessica Daley: Drug shortages have been a pervasive part of the health care landscape for more than a decade. More than 100 drugs already were in active shortage in the United States before the pandemic began, contributing an additional $230 million in annual drug costs1 nationwide and leading to suboptimal patient outcomes.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID- 19) has compounded these sourcing challenges. Overseas drug manufacturing, export bans from some of the largest producers of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), and demand spikes of more than 150%2 are making it difficult for health care providers based in the United States to secure basic, lifesaving therapies for patients.
To tackle the drug shortage crisis, the root causes contributing to medicines in short supply must first be diagnosed. From there, the appropriate remedies can be prescribed.