How are you Managing Drug Shortages in Pharmacy Kits?

by Doug Zurawski

Pharmacy Practice News this month has a timely article on drug shortages. If you think these are occurring with more frequency today than in the past, you are right. However, most people don’t know the magnitude of the problem.

Drug Shortage Spike in Recent Years

drug_shortage_graphicThe University of Utah Drug Information Service has complied a list of nationally recorded medication shortages in the United States between 2001 and 2012. For the period 2001-2006, there were an average of 81 drug shortages per year. The years 2007–2012 saw the average skyrocket 131% to 186.

The Pharmacy Practice News article quoted Pharm D Erin Fox of University of Utah as saying, “Shortages take a tremendous amount of time and labor to manage.” That may be an understatement. Given the growth in shortages, hospital pharmacies are spending more time and labor than ever managing them.

What about Pharmacy Kits

An often-overlooked place where you find drugs on shortage are hospital pharmacy kits. Par levels for kits are set based on assumed drug availability. When a shortage occurs, these par levels need to be reset and often a hunt ensues to collect these drugs from kits so they can be made available throughout the hospital.

The Role of IT in Shortage Management

There is a clear need to engage IT to make systems changes when shortages arise. However, with pharmacy kits, Kit Check allows pharmacy operations managers to do this themselves.  When asked if there were any unexpected benefits of using Kit Check, one customer responded, “Shortage control. I can now shrink my pars with the flick of a button and gain inventory.”

Beyond changing par levels, the Kit Check solution enables users to view every kit that contains a drug in case some are needed for immediate redistribution. This can save time and labor hours by making the process easier to manage.

Kit Check NDC Location Report

Beyond Time Savings – Visibility & Control

Kit Check has become known for its ability to reduce the time it takes to process and restock pharmacy kits by as much as 90%. However, a hidden benefit is that Kit Check provides much greater visibility into medication inventory location and more control over how it is distributed. If you are struggling to manage the nearly 200 drug shortages expected this year, Kit Check may provide you a tool to alleviate some of the burden. Even better, because the software is hosted in the cloud, you don’t require IT to make changes. The control is in your hands.

Data Source: University of Utah Drug Information Service