Pharmacists to Help Manage Drug Shortages
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Pharmacists to Help Manage Drug Shortages

Healthcare Tech Outlook | Wednesday, May 04, 2022

The global pandemic has left tremendous strain on health systems, with some being overburdened and has put the medicine supply chain to the test

FREMONT, CA: According to the reports, the medical drug supply crisis hit Trinidad and Tobago (TT) in the Sunday Newsday of January 16, which is not a new or uncommon occurrence. The global pandemic has left tremendous strain on health systems, with some being overburdened. The pandemic has put the medicine supply chain to the test not just in TT, but also in Europe, the United States, China, India, and a number of other countries, exposing supply chain flaws as a result of unprecedented demand induced by the enormous number of severely ill covid-19 patients.

SARS-Cov-2 and drug shortages – Trends and lessons from a Caribbean perspective, published in the Caribbean Medical Journal in October 2020, and Covid-19 causes price increases and reduced drug stocks in Trinidad, West Indies, published in Academia Letters in 2021, were both from the Faculty of Medical Sciences. The pandemic caused supply chain disruptions all the way from India and China, which are the primary producers of active pharmaceutical ingredients. Manufacturing plants were harmed when employees became ill or were contact-isolated, limiting their ability to supply global demand.

If accurate, the methylprednisolone scarcity indicated is concerning, though not unexpected. Early in the pandemic, a shortage of emergency drugs became a major issue. Low supplies of sedatives and painkillers in the United States led clinical pharmacists to devote a significant amount of time to drug procurement and conservation. Drug shortages aren't new, but the huge effect of covid-19 pushed first-line treatments to exhaustion, forcing patients to rely on second and third-line medications. Corticosteroids, analgesics, neuromuscular blockers (paralytics for the many ventilated patients), and antimicrobials all fell under this category. Even Europe experienced this shortage of critical drugs and struggled to manage covid-19 patients. A weekly report on drug availability was conducted by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) in the US.

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