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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Drug shortages in hospitals: Actors' perspectives

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BACKGROUND: Despite an increasing focus on drug shortages, no standardized global definition of a drug shortage seems to exist. This raises the question of whether healthcare actors are discussing the same phenomenon, which may influence their actions when managing, solving and preventing drug shortages. Further, the literature reports a lack of national contingency plans for managing drug shortages in hospitals.

OBJECTIVE: To explore national-level communication, decision-making and collaboration on drug shortage management carried out in Denmark by secondary healthcare actors.

METHODS: Seven semi-structured interviews were conducted with actor representatives from Amgros, the procurement department of the hospital pharmacy in the Capital Region of Denmark, two medicine suppliers, two pharmaceutical wholesalers and distributors, and the Danish Medicines Agency. Data was analyzed using a social constructivist approach.

RESULTS: No common definition of a drug shortage exists among the actors, but referential definitions related to "contract" and delivered "as expected" were identified. Additionally, actors initiate drug shortage procedures differently, and, as efforts are minimally coordinated, the work procedures are often needlessly duplicated. Further, discrepancies in available drug shortage information arise, as information is distributed through different electronic systems, unavailable to all actors. Besides, Amgros (a national organization responsible for tendering and procuring medicines in hospitals) and the procurement department of the hospital pharmacy in the Capital Region of Denmark make joint decisions regarding the choice of alternative drugs. However, the study found that actors had diverse collaborative relationships, especially those with the Danish Medicines Agency, and that these were limited to contact regarding medicine regulations and unlicensed medicine.

CONCLUSION: The study provided insight into national-level communication, decision-making and collaboration on drug shortage management by different actors in hospitals. This knowledge is useful in the development of a national contingency plan for drug shortage management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in social & administrative pharmacy : RSAP
ISSN1551-7411
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021

    Research areas

  • Denmark, Drug shortage, Hospital, Management and communication, Qualitative research, Social constructivism

ID: 65737952