Last updated: February 07, 2020

A shortage of a medicine can cause significant problems for patients, such as:

  1. Harm – by missing doses when a drug isn't available, a patient may be forced into non-compliance and a chronic condition could deteriorate as a result. 
  2. Inconvenience – if they run out, patients may have to return to their doctor/pharmacist to get advice on how to manage the situation and/or to be prescribed an alternative drug. 
  3. Uncertainty and worry – insufficient supplies of a medicine, or being prescribed an alternative, may confuse the patient or cause anxiety about long-term management of a medical condition. 
  4. Dissatisfaction – understandably, patients may be dissatisfied if they can’t obtain a medicine they need. 

Managing shortages 

If you know the reason, it’s important to explain to patients why a shortage has occurred and how long it may last. If a shortage might mean switching to an alternative product then what will be the implications for them: a different method of administration, potentially new side effects, additional monitoring?

We've devised some questions to ask to help you manage an individual patient, starting on the next page.

Page 1 of 4    NEXT PAGE  ›