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The Causes and Solutions of Chronic Drug Shortages in the United States: The Important Role of Better Analytics – A Commentary

A vexing public health policy issue plaguing the US pharmaceutical industry has been the existence of chronic drug shortages since 2000 with no end in sight. Chronic drug shortages persist despite attempts by the FDA and federal legislation to remedy this problem. Drug shortages are severe enough to potentially cause adverse effects on patient health outcomes, changes from optimal treatment, and added costs to the healthcare system. While recent empirical research has exposed an array of causes for drug shortages, the application of better analytics has now also been cited as needed to account for these effects and changes in market forces, business continuity planning, supply chain management, and improved insights into future demands through better forecasting to reduce the number and severity of drug shortages.

This article was originally published in the Journal of the Pharmaceutical Management Science Association, Spring 2018 issue. It is posted here with permission from the Pharmaceutical Management Science Association.

Dr. George A. Chressanthis is Principal Scientist at Axtria, a big data and analytics company, starting in July 2016. His research focuses on numerous pharmaceutical strategic and operational commercial issues and their intersection to health and economic outcomes. He has spent the last 23 years involved in issues affecting pharmaceutical commercial operations strategic, operational, and analytical activities in positions as a former senior executive within the industry, pharma consulting, and academia. He also had a career as an academic economist prior to his pharma career from 1982-1995, eventually becoming a tenured full professor in economics at Mississippi State University. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from Purdue University.

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