Free Drug Substitution Search Tool Confronts Potential Shortages From COVID-19

May 5, 2020

The free online tool aims to help individuals find alternative drug options for medications in shortage.

A new online resource intends to help identify alternative drug options for medications in shortage due to the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Scripta Insights announced the launch of its latest technological innovation-the Drug Substitution Search Tool- for individuals whose prescription availability may be interrupted by supply chain issues caused by the pandemic, according to a press release.1

Related: NCPA Survey: Nearly 90% of Community Pharmacists Report Drug Shortages

The company’s P&T Committee, comprised of more than 25 physicians and pharmacists, have dedicated their time to map nearly every drug on the market to find appropriate medication substitutions and ensure that individuals will feel assured that they can continue their necessary treatments uninterrupted.1

The mapping database technology, normally used to offer prescription savings for Scripta’s members though health plans, is available online for free; anyone who has concerns about their medications can search for other options and discuss them with their physicians.1

"During this unprecedented time, there is a greater need than ever for people to have access to transparent information about the prescription medications they are taking," said Eric Levin, chief executive officer of Scripta Insights, in the news release.1 "In light of the international crisis around COVID-19, we are opening access to parts of our proprietary Scripta drug database to the public free of charge. We know that controlling comorbidities is critical during this viral outbreak, and hope that our drug substitution search tool will serve as a valuable resource for people who may find life-saving drugs, like blood pressure or diabetes medications, suddenly unavailable in the coming weeks."

So far, the most frequently searched prescriptions on the Drug Substitution Search Tool have been for inhalers, allergy medications, and those related to erectile dysfunction, Scripta Insights told Drug Topics® in an email. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) has previously reported shortages of albuterol inhalers. 

Levin told Drug Topics® that Scripta Insights’ search tool aims to help those most vulnerable to the virus stay prepared in the face of rapidly changing circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: "We hope that nobody really needs to use this tool, but Scripta’s Drug Substitution Search Tool will be helpful to anyone who finds their prescribed medication out of stock at their local pharmacy or starting to show up on projected shortage lists that may come out in the press” he wrote to Drug Topics®.

“Right now, we are mostly hearing about shortages on drugs administered in hospital settings, and not too much about medications taken at home,” Levin added. “However, as drug ingredients are often coming from global sources, and supply chains are strained, we think it’s important to be prepared just in case. As we know that people with underlying health issues are most vulnerable to COVID-19, we especially want to be sure that people are taking those key maintenance meds to lower their risk profile."

You can find the Drug Substitution Search Tool here.2

References:

1. Scripta Insights Launches Free Substitution Search Tool to Prepare for COVID-19 Drug Shortages. News Release. BioSpace; April 22, 2020. Accessed May 1, 2020. https://www.biospace.com/article/releases/scripta-insights-launches-free-drug-substitution-search-tool-to-prepare-for-covid-19-drug-shortages/.
2. Drug Substitution Search Tool. Scripta Insights. Accessed May 4, 2020. https://drugfinder.scriptasaurus.com.