Supply Chain Management Perspective on Shortages in Drugs Sourcing

Supply Chain Management Perspective on Shortages in Drugs Sourcing

Neeta Baporikar (Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia & University of Pune, India) and Dofilia Sinangui Kaloia (Namibian German Institute for Logistics, Namibia)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/IJAL.2020070104
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Drug supply shortages globally make hospitals vulnerable. It effects service delivery and patient satisfaction apart from endangering lives. Further, drug sourcing to ensure supply to satisfy patients' needs is a strategic priority for any health care system in any country. Katutura hospital and Namibia is no exception. However, frequent drug shortages have created difficulty in ensuring patients get prescribed medication. Adopting a descriptive research design, pharmacists, and nurses were surveyed and 22 questionnaires were distributed out of which 21 (95%) responded in full. The main objective of this study was to identify the causes of the drug supply shortage from a supply chain perspective and suggest strategies to deal with the shortage in an optimum manner. The findings reveal supply chain disruption, management inefficiencies, are inadequate inventory management are some of the main causes for drug supply shortage resulting in difficulties and inefficiencies for proper drug delivery and supply.
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Safeguarding the supply of drugs and satisfying the needs of patients when it comes to quantity, quality, cost and accessibility is at a strategic priority of any health care system priorities (Abdollahiasl, Nikfar, Kebriaeezadeh, Dinarvand, Abdollahi, Jaberidoost & Cheraghali, 2014). Pharmaceuticals represent a large portion of the costs in the healthcare industry due to the significant costs of these products and their storage and control requirements (Kelle, Woosley, & Schneider, 2012). The pharmaceutical supply chain is subject to many threats leading not only to deteriorating treasured resources but also the disruption of available drugs resulting in the growing problem of shortages. Drug shortage is a condition in which the supply of all clinically alternative versions of a controlled drug is insufficient to meet the current or estimated demand at the user levels, which are patients (Gu, Wertheimer, Brown & Shaya, 2011). The term drug shortage was seldom encountered at least ten years ago, in recent years, the degree and impact of drug shortage increased to critical levels. The author further stated that the list of drugs in shortage is rapidly increasing with the passing of the years. Also, in 2010, there were 211 newly reported drug shortages, tripling the amount in 2006, with almost 75% being sterile injectable (Gu et al., 2011). In many healthcare practice settings, the shortage is prevalent and affecting nearly all the classes, with the most critical ones such as surgical and being affected the most (Ventola, 2011). Moreover, the quality use of medicines is a key factor in achieving positive health outcomes. Evidence indicates that there is significant scope for improvement in the use of drugs for hospitalized patients (Dooley, Allen, Doecke, Galbraith, Taylor, Bright, & Carey, 2004). However, drug shortages and supply inefficiencies create obstacles for hospital management and also patients being serviced well.

A drug shortage is a deficiency in the supply of medicines or products that affect the ability of a patient to get the required treatment in due time (Pauwels, Huys, Casteels & Simeons, 2015). The roots of drug shortages are multifaceted and varied; the problem can either be due to the supply or demand (Bateman, 2013). However, the situation affects almost every stakeholder in the health care system, which is why collaboration is required to handle or reduce shortages. It is also possible to affect the amount of work, important decisions and financial impact if not be anticipated on time (Pauwels, et. al.2015). Burns (2002), examined the healthcare value chain. Also, Pitta & Laric (2004), provide a model of the healthcare value and supply chains, which helps to change the focus from individual transactions to a more comprehensive view of the entire system. This supply chain is not linear or sequential but closely follows the flow of information through the system. Public expectation of quality healthcare and the burgeoning costs of more sophisticated and expensive medical interventions has been a great cause of worry and deliberation world over (Böhme, Williams, Childerhouse, Deakins & Towill, 2013). Governments around the world to attempt regulation of such services; often through a philosophy of New Public Management which Hood (1995) defines as the lessening of differences between the public and private sectors by shifting the emphasis away from process accountability and towards outcomes.

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