How can needed drugs for serious diseases not be available?
February 7, 2011 Leave a comment
According to the FDA, a record 178 drug shortages occurred in 2010. Some say the shortages have reached crisis levels. These shortages are caused by two factors: long approval periods required by the FDA for alternatives and the lack of effective forecasting by the pharmaceutical industry.
I can address the latter of the two factors. Pharmacists order products as requested by patients, who in turn have been given prescriptions by their doctors. The supply chain has to be evaluated to remedy this situation.
Here are some recommendations for pharmaceutical manufacturers to remedy this situation:
1) Perform an analysis of the historical occurrence of specific diseases
2) Analyze the historical usage by patients worldwide
3) Run an algorithm on frequency and use
4) Establish a yearly volume forecast
5) Identify the long lead time items
6) Establish a master schedule
7) Reserve capacity to accept orders when forecasts are inaccurate
This should improve availability, reduce costs, and adequately treat patients.