FDA Joins Health Care’s Digital Transformation with Drug Shortage Mobile App

Pharmaceutical companies aren’t the only ones changing their approach to medicine to become more digitally focused. The Food and Drug Administration is joining health care’s digital transformation with a new mobile app that will allow health care professionals to track drug shortages.

Drug shortages have become a regular problem, first emerging in 2011 and 2012 as supplies of generic sterile injectable drugs became constrained, Regulatory Focus reports. Those shortages are rooted in a number of causes, among them: government reimbursement policies that don’t allow prices to match market demand; low profit margins leading drug manufacturers to abandon these older, low-margin drugs that no longer have patent protection; and manufacturing problems that compromise the quality of products, particularly sterile injectables.

These industry issues have a profound effect on health care. When a drug is short in supply or unavailable, ultimately, it’s the patients who suffer. The FDA has taken several steps to ease the shortage, such as working with companies to solve manufacturing problems and expediting reviews of drugs that could be substituted for drugs in short supply. The agency even created a webpage that tracks drug shortages. With the new app, the FDA is now taking another digital step.  

“The FDA understands that health care professionals and pharmacists need real-time information about drug shortages to make treatment decisions,” Valerie Jensen, associate director of the FDA’s Drug Shortage Staff, said in the agency’s announcement about the app. “The new mobile app is an innovative tool that will offer easier and faster access to important drug shortage information.”

The free app, which is available for both Apple and Android devices, allows users to search or browse for a drug’s status using either the drug’s generic name or its active ingredient. The app also allows searches by therapeutic category. If a health care professional suspects a shortage or supply, that information can also be reported to the FDA via the app.

Drug shortages are a complex problem and it remains to be seen how much of an impact the app will have. At the very least, the ability for health care providers, drug manufacturers, and regulators to have access to the same real-time information should help everyone plan around drug shortages.

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One Response to “FDA Joins Health Care’s Digital Transformation with Drug Shortage Mobile App”

  • Digital technology is really transforming the pharmaceutical industry! For example, this app is vital in helping consumers and industry professionals alike connect with the larger companies. It will be interesting to see how the industry continues to evolve.

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