99.5% of Community Hospitals Reported Drug Shortages in Last Six Months

Approximately 99.5 percent of community hospitals reported experiencing at least one drug shortage in the past six months, according to a survey released by the American Hospital Association, reported in the Wall Street Journal.

The AHA reported that 99.5 percent of the 820 community hospitals participating in the organization's June survey reported at least one drug shortage. Another 44 percent reported shortages of 21 or more different drugs.

Hospitals reported that all treatment categories were impacted by drug shortages. According to the report, 80 percent of respondents had experienced shortages of drugs for surgery and anesthesia, emergency care, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal/nutrition and pain or infection disease. Around 66 percent of hospitals reported shortages of cancer drugs.

According to the report, many hospitals are stockpiling drugs to offset the drug shortage, a tactic that John Dombrowski, MD, member of the ASA Board of Directors, has warned against. According to Dr. Dombrowski, drug "hoarding" only exacerbates the shortage and hurts providers who are unable to stockpile drugs in time. According to the AHA survey, 85 percent of hospitals have resorted to purchasing "excess inventory" of drugs to make sure they are equipped to handle cases.

Read the Wall Street Journal report on drug shortages.

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