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Managing and Mitigating Drug Shortages: Andy Brailo with OSF HealthCare, Part Three

This is the third article in a multi-part series.

Today’s 3Q episode is the last of a three-part series on drug shortages. Jerry Storm, Senior Vice President of Pharmacy Services at OSF HealthCare, and Premier’s Chief Customer Officer, Andy Brailo, take a closer look at why healthcare stakeholders must work together to address drug shortages.

Andy: Beyond OSF efforts, we know that resolving drug shortages requires collaboration and action from multiple stakeholders (U.S. regulators, manufacturers, distributors, purchasing groups and providers). What can these entities do to strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chain?

Jerry: We need to continue to address the symptoms of this unhealthy market we have right now around pharmaceutical manufacturers. Part of that is we have to figure out how we incentivize manufacturers to produce these drugs that many times that are not going to be profitable products, but yet they play a critical role in caring for patients. We need to extend for example like what we've done with ProvideGX, make a commitment, have a commitment driven model to be able to produce some of these drugs that are on short supply and increase and figure out ways to increase the competition so that we have more than just one or two manufacturers making a single product. Then we need to be able to figure out how do we accommodate for these surge demands that we've experienced around the last two years from COVID. One or two manufacturers just doesn't have the bandwidth to be able to meet those surge demands.

I think we need to work with our policymakers and our governmental officials to figure out how we can incentivize some of the manufactures to get back on the market on some of these lower profitable drugs. For example, work with our policymakers to be able to come up with some zero interest loans possibly to look at some tax incentives for these manufacturers to be able to be willing to get back to the market on these low profitability drugs. We need to be able to be transparent and be able to share what information with these manufacturers so that they know what the demand is going to be. Then we can streamline regulatory approvals because when it takes multiple years to get approval to bring a drug on the market, whether it's a drug that they used to be manufactured and then for whatever reason, they have stopped manufacturing it, we need to figure out a way to make it more streamline yet protect our patients make expecting the same quality out of those products.

I think adoption of technology and data for greater visibility will be key to help address some of these short comings that we have currently in our system. Investing in manufacturing a system that ensure quality and ensure safety of our products. Emergency preparedness- I think we go through one emergency many times, then we take a deep breath and we kind of go to the back burner because you're trying to address another drug shortage. But I don't think we can lose sight of always being prepared for different emergencies, whether it's due to hurricane as we all experienced a few years back with IV solutions in Puerto Rico not being available, or whether it be a tornado and go through and take out a manufacturer that may only be the only manufacturer for a product.

We need to support a multi-agency infrastructure to be able to react to these drug shortages and to streamline these approaches to ensure care for our patients. Providers play a key role, not only partnering with providers with supply chain regarding a strong clinical focus and we also need to ensure that our drugs being used appropriately and for the right patient population. So, that makes sure that the utilization of the drugs that we have is being done appropriately.

Listen to the Full Episode Below to Check out Never Before Seen Footage:

Browse more episodes from the 3Q series here.

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