Drug Shortages On The Rise

Drug Shortages On The Rise

Drug Shortages On The Rise

Global shortages of drugs are causing unnecessary surgeries, relapses of cancer, and even fatalities in the U.S. This is an ever-increasing problem that could affect you, your business, and your loved ones. In just five years, the shortage of drugs in the U.S. has risen to an amazingly high, 74%. The shortage has a broad coverage of drugs, from saline and anti-inflammatories to cancer treatments and anesthesia (Loftus, 2015). Even treatments as simple as a Vitamin A injection and pain medication can be hard to come by (Eban, 2014).

According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, it is highly probable that in the near future, the U.S. will suffer from a drug shortage of five important injectables to prevent infection, which can have a significant negative impact on the care of our patients and the healthcare system as a whole. The FDA currently has 64 drugs on its Shortage list. To view a current list of drug shortages visit http://rx.trxade.com/drug-shortages/.

The FDA focuses on shortages of medically necessary products since these shortages have the greatest impact on public health. The FDA lists shortages primarily of medically necessary products. Shortages that are expected to be resolved quickly or which involve only a particular strength or package size, are not usually listed on FDA’s Drug Shortage list.

TRxADE Helps Acquire Drugs in Short Supply

Ketorolac Tromethamine is an example of an important anti-inflammatory medication that is in short supply. TRxADE currently has 6 suppliers representing 3 different manufacturers of Ketorolac Tromethamine on its online comparison shopping platform. TRxADE is a great resource to search multiple suppliers, price compare, and acquire drugs in short supply and high demand.

Causes of U.S. Drug Shortages

There are multiple factors that contribute to drug shortages, both due to a lower supply and a higher therapeutic demand. Some of the specific factors are quality requirements, internal or external price referencing, manufacturing process requirements, and even noncompliance (Weerdt, Simoens, Hombrockx, Casteels, & Huys, 2015). Knowing the exact cause of a shortage in drug supply can be difficult to determine “because manufacturers have no legal obligation to transparency” (Valquette & Laupland, 2015).

The FDA states the top reported reason a drug shortage occurs is due to quality/manufacturing issues. On their website they explain “However there have been other reasons such as production delays at the manufacturer and delays companies have experienced receiving raw materials and components from suppliers. Discontinuations are another factor contributing to shortages. FDA can’t require a firm to keep making a drug it wants to discontinue. Sometimes these older drugs are discontinued by companies in favor of newer, more profitable drugs.

With fewer firms making older sterile injectable drugs, there are a limited number of production lines that can make these drugs. The raw material suppliers the firms use are also limited in the amount they can make due to capacity issues at their facilities. This small number of manufacturers and limited production capacity for older sterile injectables, combined with the long lead times and complexity of the manufacturing process for injectable drugs, results in these drugs being vulnerable to shortage. When one company has a problem or discontinues, it is difficult for the remaining firms to increase production quickly and a shortage occurs.”


Eban, K. (2014, June).  Drug shortages: the scary reality of a world without meds. Reader’s Digest.

Loftus, P. (2015, May). U.S. drug shortages frustrate doctors, patients. The Wall Street Journal.

Valquette, L., & Laupland, K. (2015). Antimicrobial shortages: another hurdle for clinicians. The Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases & Medical Microbiology, 26 (2), 67-68. Retrieved from: search.proquest.com

Weerdt, E., Simoens, S., Hombroeckx, L. Casteels, M., & Huys, I. (2015, March). Causes of drug shortages in the legal pharmaceutical framework. Science Direct-Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 71 (2), 251-258. doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2015.01.005.