Drug Shortages Remain Major Concern for Hospital Pharmacists


Opioid shortages have hit hospitals all over the country.

Empty pill bottle

Critical drug shortages remain one of hospital pharmacists’ top concerns according to ASHP, whose annual Summer Meetings and Exhibition was held June 2-6 in Denver, CO.

ASHP’s recent member survey revealed that 98.4% indicated that their hospital has been affected by shortages of the injectable opioids morphine, hydromorphone, and fentanyl. Nearly 70% called the shortages “severe.”

“The ongoing shortages of these vital lifesaving medications are overwhelming the resources of our nation’s hospitals, placing our healthcare system on the brink of a public health emergency,” says ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, PharmD. “Congress must act now to implement remedies that will address the underlying causes of drug shortages and ensure that patients have access to the medications they need.”

In addition to pain medications, survey respondents said their hospitals are dealing with shortages of sterile water for injection (85.7%), potassium chloride premix bags (74.6%), emergency drugs used in cardiac arrest (65.6%), and ketamine (59.8%).

Related article: Hospital Pharmacists Struggle with Sterile Water for Injection Shortage

Meanwhile, at its Summer Meetings and Exhibition, ASHP’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to create a new ASHP Section of Specialty Pharmacy Practitioners. Members of the new section will be vital leaders in shaping ASHP’s agenda to provide a broad range of education, tools, resources, strategic initiatives, professional policies, and advocacy in support of their interests as specialty pharmacy practitioners.

“ASHP is extremely excited about the creation of this important new Section of Specialty Pharmacy Practitioners,” Abramowitz says. “We believe that ASHP is the perfect home for all pharmacy practitioners in hospitals and health systems who are interested or engaged in specialty pharmacy, including pharmacy technicians, residents, and students.”

ASHP also recently released its Sterile Product Preparation Institutional Training Certificate Program, which allows institutions to train students and employees in the fundamental concepts required for safe and compliant sterile product preparation.

The Sterile Product Preparation Institutional Training Certificate Program can be used by hospitals, colleges of pharmacy, and pharmacy technician training programs as stand-alone education or as a supplement to its existing education and training programs. The curriculum features eight modules designed to highlight the importance of aseptic processing and to help pharmacists and pharmacy technicians develop the knowledge and skills necessary for safe and compliant sterile product preparation.

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