Bring Your Own Drugs

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Date Submitted: 06/18/2012 06:25 PM

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B.Y.O.D. – Bring Your Own Drugs

The United States prescription drug supply has been experiencing drug shortages over the past decade. These shortages have been increasing at an alarming trend which has developed into a direct threat to the public health (Figure 1). Health care professionals define a drug shortage as a change in the drug supply that has the potential to compromise patient care (Tyler & Mark, 2002). Our country is presently experiencing a historical amount of prescription drug shortages (A Review of FDA’s Approach to Medical Product Shortages, 2011).

Figure [ 1 ]: United States Prescription Drug Shortages Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

Life saving and sustaining medications such as electrolytes, insulin, antibiotics, and chemotherapy cannot be administered to patients who desperately need the medications because they are in limited supply or completely unavailable. Drug shortages have now reached a critical level such that the present situation has delayed some clinical trials because older medications that are often tested against the experimental drugs are in shortage or unavailable (DeBenedette, 2011). This paper will illustrate the severity of the drug shortage situation, provide reasoning for the current shortages, and present solutions to mitigate present drug shortages for the short term while presenting solutions to prevent drug shortages moving forward as a long term strategy to protecting the nation’s drug supply.

Dr. Blum an emergency room physician when treating a trauma patient, “I asked for succs and they said, ‘There’s a shortage; we don’t have it.’ I asked, ‘What do we have?’ and they listed the alternatives” (McKenna, 2011). Succinylcholine commonly referred to as “succs” is a paralytic drug (Lacy PharmD, 2010-2011). The available alternative drug rocuronium was utilized, however, the pharmacology, onset of action, and duration of the paralytic effects are quite different then that of succinylcholine....