For some, it may be an abstract notion – the idea that some drugs may be in short supply. For patients, however, who may face the hard reality of those shortages and for the physicians who treat them, it is far from abstract.
Late in 2011, the IMS Institute for Health Informatics decided to take a look at the issue through a lens of their own making to see if the problem could be better defined. Through its extensive collection of prescription data, IMS can analyze a wealth of information to provide important insights into our consumption and use of medications in the U.S., and compiling it into a report.
The resulting report was entitled “Drug Shortages: A Closer Look at Products, Suppliers and Volume Volatility” and what it found was that the drug shortage problem is very concentrated among certain types of drugs – generics and injectables. Late last week, I had the opportunity to ask Murray Aitken, Executive Director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, what made the IMS outlook unique, about the key findings, and what could help not only in the early detection of drug shortages, but in their prevention in the first place.
Here is the podcast of our discussion where I asked what unique ability IMS brought to the table in assessing the situation and what insights resulted.[audio:http://eyeonfda.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/IMS-Aitken.mp3|titles=Perspectives on the Drug Shortage Issue]
See also FDA’s Web page on Drug Shortages