Medical Product Shortages during Disasters: Opportunities to Predict, Prevent, and Respond - A Workshop
Recent disasters and public health emergencies including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the treatment of Ebola patients, have highlighted the impact that shortages of commonly used medical supplies, equipment, and pharmaceuticals can have on health care delivery and emergency response. While the 2012 passage of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act provided additional authorities to FDA in this arena, and has reduced overall the number of shortages, significant public health and medical challenges exist. Limited research has been conducted into both the impact of shortages on patient care, and the potential policy, regulatory, and systems solutions that could help better predict, prevent, and mitigate the impact of shortages. The lack of an organized effort to identify, assess, and categorize pertinent data presents a significant impediment to addressing medical product shortages in routine situations. Likewise, shortages occurring during or because of disasters exacerbates these challenges and adds urgency to finding workable solutions.
This workshop explored opportunities to improve and build upon the current evidence base on the effects of medical product shortages, and subsequent product inventory conservation efforts on patient health and to predict, prevent, and respond to such future shortages in the United States. The workshop focused on information-sharing, supply-chain infrastructure, and enhanced collaboration among public, private, and non-profit stakeholders. It will inform future research that could be conducted under real-world and simulated conditions to provide public-health officials and the general public with accurate information to support policy-making and decision-making to improve patient care.