March 09, 2015
FDA Unveils Drug Shortages Mobile App
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a new app which identifies current drug shortages, resolved shortages and discontinuations of drug products as part of its efforts to improve access to information about drug shortages. App users can search or browse by a drug’s generic name or active ingredient, and browse by therapeutic category. The app can also be used to report a suspected drug shortage or supply issue to the FDA.
The FDA makes great efforts to address and prevent drug shortages, working closely with manufacturers of drugs in short supply to communicate the issue and to help restore availability. The app is an added benefit to the preexisting FDA Drug Shortages Database online. Drug shortages - which can occur for many reasons, including manufacturing and quality problems, delays and discontinuations - can delay or deny needed care for patients. This may also cause physicians to rely on alternative drug products, which may be less effective or associated with higher risks than the drug in shortage.
ASA has been a leader in the medical community in working to address drug shortages. In 2011, ASA joined the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) in offering a series of recommendations to the FDA to combat drug shortages. Read more about the event here.
At the beginning of 2015, ASA also joined these organizations in releasing a report exploring measures that should be considered to address drug shortages. The report followed a 2014 Drug Shortages Summit that ASA co-convened with 22 stakeholder groups, including health care professionals and other non-profit organizations, industry, public interest, and government agencies, to talk about this ongoing issue. Previous summits were also held in 2010 and 2013.
Many of the steps taken by FDA to combat drug shortages, including the release of the new mobile app, were set in motion by the enactment of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) in 2012. ASA supported the legislation and worked closely with members of Congress and the FDA for the inclusion of provisions related to drug shortages. Title X of FDASIA is dedicated solely to preventing and mitigating national drug shortages; key provisions of the title require manufacturers to report to the FDA a permanent discontinuance or interruption of the manufacture of critical drugs, including those used by anesthesiologists during surgery and in the treatment of pain. With this information, the FDA will more rapidly be informed of specific shortages and will therefore be better able to use its authority to develop a response.
Download the app for free via iTunes (for Apple devices) and the Google Play store (for Android devices) by searching “FDA Drug Shortages.”