Hospital pharmacy operations report reveals drug shortages persist in hospital pharmacies

Over 53% of survey respondents said they had had a diversion event in the past year, in addition to 37% who knew that at least one coworker had diverted controlled substances.

Recent results from Kit Check’s fourth annual hospital pharmacy operations report showed that more than 53% of survey respondents reported having had a diversion event in the past year, in addition to 37 % who knew at least one colleague who had diverted controlled substances.

This year, 237 top hospital pharmacy leadership professionals were surveyed to better understand the expectations and circumstances that reflect the state of pharmacy operations in more than 1,000 U.S. hospitals prior to the 2019 coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID- 19), according to the Kit Check press. Release.

According to Kevin MacDonald, CEO and co-founder of Kit Check, the company uses a third-party vendor to conduct the survey, with around 44% of respondents having between 1 and 5 hospitals in their healthcare system, and 55% having between 6 and more than 20 hospitals in their system.

Respondents who were familiar with diversion events in their organizations found that 47% said drugs were diverted as waste or leftover drugs, while 27% reported diversion directly from patients, according to the survey. This supports MacDonald’s need to tackle the ongoing opioid epidemic and take charge of the under-discussed contributor to drug diversion in the United States.

“Using our AI technology, we can see that approximately 12% of the 9 million cases our software examines contain a discrepancy, which means that the controlled substance has taken an abnormal path to the administration or waste that triggers an audit by a pharmacist or manager ”MacDonald said in an interview with Pharmacy hours®. “It is important to address this critical information in order to alleviate the fundamental problem of opioid addiction. “

Additionally, MacDonald mentioned that drug shortages were the number one challenge facing pharmacy staff, with around 60% of pharmacy staff reporting they faced up to 20 drug shortages at a time.

“It is clear that pharmacists need to have the tools to have in-depth knowledge of drug information throughout the supply chain so that patients can get the drugs they need,” MacDonald said in a commentary. interview with Pharmacy hours®.

Further results showed that nearly 80% of those surveyed indicated that patient safety was the most important factor when it came to securing budgets for the implementation of new technologies within the pharmacy. . Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said they face at least 1 drug booster each year, and around 50% of those surveyed have dealt with up to 9 booster shots each year. The majority of those surveyed said they spend up to 5 hours dealing with each recall, according to the Kit Check press release.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, MacDonald said Pharmacy hours® that drug shortages are as great as before due to increased drug shortages that COVID-19 patients are using to fight the virus.

“We are seeing shortages of drugs needed for intubation such as etomidate, propofol, ketamine, rocuronium and fentanyl, in addition to hydroxychloroquine, used to treat the virus itself,” MacDonald said. in an interview with Pharmacy hours®. “Tracking shortages as well as potential drug diversion is an ongoing issue that all hospitals must prioritize for the health and safety of patients and staff. “

On continuing to tackle these issues in hospital pharmacies and safeguarding the future of pharmacy, MacDonald emphasized the critical task of pharmacists in protecting the pharmaceutical supply chain. Although progress has been made, MacDonald said Pharmacy hours® that it is clear that the industry needs to redouble its efforts to build a secure drug supply chain through increased oversight of the drug custody chain, especially with regard to related organizational strategies patients and pharmacy staff.

“With the opioid crisis impacting hospital services of all sizes and specialties, engaging in a diversion committee and implementing automated software are essential first steps towards true drug intelligence that directly impacts patients. patient care and the well-being of providers and staff, ”said MacDonald.

Regarding future surveys, MacDonald said Kit Check plans to use the same methodology to gain valuable insight into changes and developments from year to year. To highlight the impact of COVID-19, MacDonald said Pharmacy hours® Questions can be added to ask pharmacists about their experience of the crisis supply chain and how their roles have been affected.


Kit Check Hospital Pharmacy Operations Report Finds Over One-Third of Hospital Pharmacy Professionals Know At Least One Coworker Has Stolen Controlled Substances [news release]. Washington; Kit check: April 21, 2020. Accessed April 21, 2020.

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