New Vizient Survey Finds Drug Shortages Cost Hospitals Just Under $360M Annually in Labor Expenses



"Drug shortages and labor costs: Measuring the hidden costs of drug shortages on U.S. hospitals"

IRVING, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Drug shortages are challenging pharmacy teams in hospitals across the United States. A new survey from Vizient, Inc. finds that, on average, hospitals in the U.S. dedicate more than 8.6 million hours of additional labor hours annually to manage drug shortages. The financial impact adds up to just under $360 million annually in labor costs for time spent seeking supply and implementing mitigation strategies that enable continuity of patient care.

The survey, “Drug shortages and labor costs: Measuring the hidden costs of drug shortages on U.S. hospitals”, also showed 100% of responding facilities have experienced shortages, with nearly two-thirds of respondents reporting that they had managed at least 20 shortages in the six-month period from July through December 2018. Controlled substances, local anesthetics, antibiotics, electrolytes and emergency injectables such as “crash cart” drugs continue to be the most common drug categories where shortages have had the most impact on hospitals. Additionally, the survey showed that 38% of respondents reported one or more medication errors directly related to a drug shortage in that same time period.

“We know that, looking just at additional labor costs, the impact to U.S. hospitals annually is at least $360 million,” said Dan Kistner, senior vice president, pharmacy solutions for Vizient. “When you also add the cost of more expensive alternative therapies, direct purchases outside the hospital’s traditional channels, medication errors and cancelled or delayed medical procedures, we believe the actual cost of drug shortages to hospitals is significantly higher.”

Labor expenses related to managing shortages, both inside and outside the pharmacy, are creating a substantial burden on talent and resources for hospitals. The survey showed that 44% of hospitals were incurring staff overtime expenses and 46% were managing the additional time by redistributing the workload.

Survey respondents included 365 Vizient members from acute and non-acute care facilities across the country including health systems, academic medical centers, self-governed children’s hospital, behavioral facilities, long-term care facilities, specialty hospitals and ambulatory care facilities. Highlights from the survey can be accessed online here.

About Vizient, Inc.

Vizient, Inc. provides solutions and services that improve the delivery of high-value care by aligning cost, quality and market performance for more than 50% of the nation’s acute care providers, which includes 95% of the nation’s academic medical centers, and more than 20% of ambulatory providers. Vizient provides expertise, analytics and advisory services, as well as a contract portfolio that represents more than $100 billion in annual purchasing volume, to improve patient outcomes and lower costs. Vizient has earned a World’s Most Ethical Company designation from the Ethisphere Institute every year since its inception. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Vizient has offices throughout the United States. Learn more at .

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Angie Boliver
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