HOPA Survey Reveals Frequent Drug Shortages and Increased Risk of Medication Errors | New

A survey of US oncology pharmacists recently conducted by HOPA and published in JCO® Oncology Practice reports that oncology drug shortages continue to present serious barriers to providing effective cancer care. Disruptions caused by drug shortages can lead to delays in the timing of chemotherapy treatments, changes in dose or regimen, or even missed doses when other agents are not available.

MILWAUKEE, June 3, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — A survey of US oncology pharmacists recently published in JCO® Oncology Practice reports that oncology drug shortages continue to present serious barriers to delivering effective cancer care. Disruptions caused by drug shortages can lead to delays in the timing of chemotherapy treatments, changes in the dose or regimen given, or even missed doses when other agents are not available. Read the JCO article.

“Persistent oncology drug shortages are a clear and growing challenge for healthcare organizations and people undergoing cancer treatment,” says Heidi D. Finnes, PharmD BCOP FHOPA, HOPA President and Senior Director of Pharmacy Cancer Research at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. “Often, drug shortages prevent the provision of optimal cancer care.”

The National Survey on the Effect of Oncology Drug Shortages in Clinical Practice: A Hematology Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) Survey examined the impact of oncology drug shortages in a variety of practice settings in United States. Specifically, the survey looked at the experiences of healthcare organizations, resource implications, impact on patient safety and clinical trials.

The 36-point survey was distributed to HOPA members between December 2019 and July 2020 and 68 US organizations responded. Sixty-three percent of facilities reported one or more drug shortages per month, with a 34% increase in 2019 compared to 2018. Treatment delays, reduced doses, or alternate regimens were reported by 75% of respondents.

A drug shortage is defined as a period of time when the realized or expected demand for a drug exceeds the available supply. The biggest shortages are in oncology drugs and supportive care products that are essential to caring for people with cancer. In the HOPA survey, respondents said the most difficult agents to obtain were vincristine, vinblastine, intravenous immunoglobulin, leucovorin, and Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG).

Oncology drug shortages continue to be a threat to public health. While recent legislation related to COVID-19 relief, such as the CARES Act of 2020, has provided strategies to reduce drug shortages, additional steps need to be taken.

“As advocates for the hematology/oncology pharmacy profession, as well as those undergoing cancer treatment, HOPA members have a vested interest in addressing these critical shortages,” says Dr. Finnes. A recent HOPA Drug Shortages Fact Pack provides recommendations for collaborative efforts between drug manufacturers, healthcare professionals, patient advocacy organizations, and government agencies to help mitigate the disruption caused by oncology drug shortages.

About HOPA: The Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association (HOPA) supports hematology/oncology pharmacy professionals and promotes the role of the pharmacist in collaborative cancer care. Founded in 2004, HOPA provides crucial educational, networking, and advancement opportunities frequently sought by pharmacy trainees, residents, fellows, students, technicians, researchers, and specialty pharmacy hematology/oncology administrators. His vision is to ensure that everyone affected by cancer has a hematology/oncology pharmacist as an integral member of their care team.

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michelle siegHematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association, 4142318104, [email protected]

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SOURCE Association of Hematology/Oncology Pharmacies

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