Pharmacist Group Warns Drug Shortages Are Hitting Levels Never Previously Recorded

A pharmacist group is ringing the alarm bells over the rising number of important, life-saving drugs that are becoming increasingly scarce and says it has been an ongoing problem since as far back as 2001.

The University of Utah Drug Information Service has recently warned the medical sector that there are currently 323 active drug shortages going on right now, putting lives in danger all across the nation, The Washington Post reported.

The group said that they are tracking unprecedented shortages, and wrote, “Ongoing and active shortages are the highest number (323) since we began tracking data in 2001,” according to ASHP.

The service compiles its data quarterly and follows reports from doctors and hospitals, especially hospital pharmacies, and other sources, the Post reported.

After receiving the reports, the university then contacts the drugmakers to verify if there is a shortage, if more batches are in the pipeline, of if the shortages look to be chronic.


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UDIS lead researcher and director Erin Fox said that after receiving confirmations the data is then published to ASHP where the public can see the trends.

The Federal Drug Administration also tracks and publishes information about drug shortages, but according to the Post, the UDIS data is more comprehensive.

One difference between the two metrics is that FDA does not break down its drug tracking based on adult/child versions. They track the overall drug, but don’t take note if there is a shortage in adult strength versus child strength, the Post noted. That means the FDA could miss some nuances in drug shortage data.

But the shortages now being reported range cross a number of medical fields.

Have you been impacted by drug shortages?

Currently, the UDIS says there are serious shortages of chemotherapy agents, antibiotics, medications for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and pain medications.

There are also shortages in the life-saving medications stocked on hospital crash carts, the mobile devices that hospitals use to bring someone back from the brink of death in an emergency situation.

The UDIS said that the biggest reason for the shortages seem to be supply chain difficulties in manufacturing.

The UDIS data showed that the worst year since 2001 was 2011 when hundreds of different drugs became scarce.

But more recently, the pandemic year of 2022 and the year winding down from that scare, 2023, were also bad years for drug shortages. The FDA also cited 2022 as a major problem year.


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Intermittent shortages, with data measured by reporter quarters, have also been rising since 2017, the group reported.

At least one shortage, though, was recently resolved. The FDA reported in May that the ADHD medication shortages that plagued the U.S. since 2022 are finally starting to turn around. But some doctors have not quite noticed a return to supply levels, NBC News reported.

Drug makers cited a growing demand that outstripped their supply chain and manufacturing capabilities, NBC News reported in February.

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