by Dave Schneider, president of Carmel Pharma, USA
The national drug crisis is expected to get worse before it gets better, according to NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman. In my last post, I detailed the many reasons why more than 200 chemotherapy drugs are in short supply, desperately needed by sick children and adults. I went on to explain how a (clinically proven) closed-system drug transfer device can significantly prolong the beyond-use date, increasing the amount of drugs available to patients. A recent study concludes that drug solutions could be expected to remain sterile for up to 168 hours if the PhaSeal device is applied properly and all additional USP <797> standards are followed.1 This means that once a pharmacist retrieves the first does from a vial, the remaining drug in the vial is sterile due to the mechanical barrier of PhaSeal’s airtight, leakproof system.
NBC Nightly News recently reported on the growing severity of the drug crisis and featured a patient who was directly affected by a delay in treatment. For many oncology patients, chemotherapy has been influenced by the drug shortage and often there are not substitutes, leaving patients hanging mid-treatment for their next round of chemo. Reports show the current chemotherapy shortage is the worst in three decades and all hospitals in the country are experiencing the problem. 2
Drugs in many categories have also been in short supply over the past two years, including antimicrobials, neuromuscular blockers, cardiovascular agents, CNS drugs, and hormones. “The number of drug shortages has been rising since 2006. If current trends continue, 356 drugs will be in short supply this year, up from 211 in 2010,” notes drug-supply expert Erin Fox, PharmD, manager, drug information services at the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics.3 Pharmacists everywhere are taking steps to make a difference – a closed-system drug transfer device should be at the top of their list.
I am encouraged that preserving these life-saving drugs with drug vial optimization (DVO), where drugs that might otherwise be discarded may instead be conserved, is a priority for pharmacists and hospitals. I am certain it will continue to be, long after this drug shortage crisis is over. I know the recovery from the national drug shortage will take time but I also know that it will take place and I take great pride in knowing PhaSeal is a part of the solution.
1McMichael D, Jefferson D, Carey E, et al. Utility of the PhaSeal closed system drug transfer device. The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits. 2011; 3:9-16
2Kitchen, E. Medication Shortage Has the Health Care Community Concerned. Yahoo Contributor Network. Accessed August 2, 2011.
3Gebhart, F. Oncology drug shortage raises safety concerns. Modern Medicine Network. Accessed August 12, 2011.