Many times such shortages can be life-threatening or at the least have complications and/or side-effects when medication is abruptly halted or an alternative drug therapy is substituted (1).
Recognizing this is an ongoing issue and could become a national crisis for some patients, the FDA is approaching the July 2012 law known as the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA).
The new law requires the FDA to “establish a task force on drug shortages to develop and submit to Congress a Strategic Plan to enhance FDA’s response to preventing and mitigating drug shortages.”
As part of this initiative, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) issued a press release on March 4, 2015 to announce its first ever mobile app. The FDA launched the app “… to speed public access to valuable information about drug shortages” (2).
How FDA New Drug App Can Help You
The new app allows users to identify current drug shortages so they can contact their health care providers for a new strategy for treatment. In addition, the app informs the user of any shortages that have been resolved and also notifies when a drug has been discontinued.
The app has other capabilities that can help the FDA stay on top of the vast number of prescription drugs on the market.
According to Valerie Jensen, associate director of the Drug Shortage Staff in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the app can also assist health care professionals and even pharmacist by providing “real-time information about drug shortages to make treatment decisions.”
Patients in need of drugs can simply check on the supply and if necessary make changes, although many substitute drug products might not be as effective as the current one. In some instance, the substitute prescription drug could pose a higher risk to the patient.
Using the New FDA Drug Shortage App
By providing this mobile app, the access to this information is now easier and faster for all concerned.
App users now have the ability to search or browse the drug and its generic name or by its “active ingredient” as well as “browse by therapeutic category.”
Another capability is to report a “suspected drug shortage or supply issue to the FDA.”
Such early notification can possibly stave off or reduce the supply shortage time.
This is all part of the FDA’s goal for developing the app. It is part of the FDA’s ongoing efforts to prevent drug shortages (3).
Mitigating Drug Shortages with New FDA App
While the FDA is responsible for ensuring the “safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products” it’s also responsible for the drug products industry.
By utilizing current technology, anyone can download the app for free. It’s available on iTunes (4), Google Play store (5) and can also be found by conducting a word search “FDA Drug Shortages.”
The FDA depends on drug companies to inform them of a pending shortage. These updates are then posted as soon as received.
The public’s ability to immediately be notified of these updates is ensured with this new app. Such real-time information can help doctors and other healthcare practitioners make plans in patient therapies.
The app doesn’t give any listings for substitutes since this would be considered “practicing medicine.” The best recourse should you discover one of your current medications is in short supply, is to notify your doctor or healthcare provider immediately. Your doctor or healthcare provider will then assess your situation and make whatever changes in your medication(s) are needed.
References & Image Credits:
(1) TSW: Micronutrient Corp Answers the Potassium Iodid Shortage with Bioshield Radiation Pill
(3) FDA: Drug Shortages