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Oncology Drug Shortage Rising

Lisa Slama, PhD, Associate Vice President, Sg2, for HealthLeaders Media, February 18, 2011

What to Do
Clinical and executive leaders will need to assess the impact of the shortage for their organization and make a plan. Begin by contacting purchasing agents and/or the system’s pharmacist to understand the impact of the chemotherapy drug shortage on the organization, including the drugs involved and the potential shortage duration. Second, regularly check the Web sites of product manufacturers, the FDA, distributors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the ASHP Drug Shortage Resource Center to obtain information and updates on the shortage. Assess the inventory on hand and determine how long current supplies will last.

Next, identify alternative drugs and treatment plans for patients and confirm the availability of these alternatives. Consider establishing collaborative relationships with other institutions to share supplies and resources for alternative therapies. Finally, communicate information on the shortage to staff, including identified alternative therapies and temporary procedural guidelines to reduce the risk of medical errors.

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