Astudy published in the Journal of Oncology Practice1 found that individual drugs with fewer suppliers were associated with an increased likelihood of shortages compared to drugs with a large number of suppliers.
The article titled, “Association between the Number of Suppliers for Critical Antineoplastics and Drug Shortages: Implications for Future Drug Shortages and Treatment,” used 2003–2014 national drug shortage data to examine the association between the number of suppliers for individual drugs and resulting drug shortages for first-line treatment of breast, colon, and lung cancers.
Though the relationship was nonlinear, researchers found that if a drug has a small number of drug suppliers, its chances of a shortage were more than doubled when compared with a large number of suppliers. One of the strongest risk factors for drug shortages was the age of the drug, with older drugs significantly more likely to experience shortages.
As drug shortages continue to have a significant impact on patient care, the authors recommend that future policies should promote targeted efforts to understand underlying causes of shortages in older drugs in order to evaluate shortages in the oncology community.
Read the full article at jop.ascopubs.org/content/early/2016/01/29/JOP.2015.007237.abstract. ■
© 2016. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.
1. Parsons HM, Schmidt S, Karnad AB, et al: ReCAP: Association between the number of suppliers for critical antineoplastics and drug shortages: Implications for future drug shortages and treatment. J Oncol Pract. February 2, 2016 (early release online).