On June 26, Vizient hosted the second in a series of Congressional briefings highlighting how hospital providers nationwide are managing and mitigating rising prescription drug costs. Congresswoman Angie Craig (D-Minn.), along with key leaders in the hospital industry discussed solutions such as strategies to increase generic drug competition, enhance supply chain efficiencies, prepare for biosimilar adoption and help avoid drug shortages.

Joining Rep. Craig were Ann E. Byre, PharmD, vice president of pharmacy services at Allina Health; Christine Collins, RPh, MBA, director of pharmacy at Lifespan; and Dan Kistner, PharmD, senior vice president, pharmacy solutions for Vizient. Congressional staffers, reporters and industry stakeholders, crowded into the Congressional room to hear the Vizient panelists talk about one of the hottest issues impacting health care today: the financial and clinical pressures associated with pharmaceuticals.

Rep. Craig emphasized the importance of competition and the need to ensure that more families can access and afford their health care. The other panelists shared their thoughts from the hospital perspective including a general consensus that addressing the rising cost of drugs is complex and will take time, but more competition is critically important to making progress toward lower costs.

“We appreciate our member hospitals and elected leaders such as Rep. Craig who vocalized how drug pricing and drug shortages are negatively impacting their communities and the patients they serve,” said Kistner.

On the same day, Vizient released a new survey, “Drug shortages and labor costs: Measuring the hidden costs of drug shortages on U.S. hospitals.” The survey 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 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. 

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. 

Published: July 25, 2019