shortage of chemotherapy drugs

Initial Discussion Post:
How does the shortage of chemotherapy drugs impact health care?
Are work arounds such as substitute medications a safe alternative? Why or why not?
Identify an intervention that you can implement as the RN to advocate for safe patient
care and positive patient outcomes when drug shortages occur.
Base your initial post on your readings and research of this topic.

Initial Discussion Post

Drug shortage refers to the balance dynamics between the supply of FDA regulated
chemotherapy drugs does not met the demand. The chemotherapy drug shortage adversely
impacts the healthcare provider and the service users. The healthcare provider experiences
increased workloads associated with unanticipated events of the drug alternatives. On the
other hand, the service user’s experiences reduced patient autonomy, treatment delay, or even
the cancellation of treatment. The consequences include lengthened hospital stays due to
medication errors, anticipated adverse side effects due to toxicities and compromised patient
safety (Mayer, 2012).
The works around are not safe substitute because as often lead to increased cost of care.
Additionally, the drug substituted efficacy is usually lower as compared to the drugs with
shortages; is most likely to have unanticipated side effects. This increases the possibility of
putting patient safety in jeopardy, especially if the healthcare providers have lower
professional competence with the substitute medication leading to medication errors. This
causes compromised clinical outcomes (McKeever, Bloch, Bratic, 2012).
The healthcare providers must work together in order to identify and implement the most
effective policies and procedures that would address the issue of drug shortages amicably.
The most important role is patient education and patient advocacy. The patient education
intervention should consist of open communication with the patient regarding the drugs and

Initial Discussion Post
treatment that will be used, and estimate the probability of drug shortages affecting the
treatment plan. Policies such as drug substitution, conservation and use of triage, and
utilization of compounded medication should be addressed. This will help the patient make
informed decisions, as to whether delaying of the chemotherapeutic intervention is prudent
until the medication become available. The nurse must advocate for patient’s autonomy
(McKeever, Bloch, Bratic, 2012).

Initial Discussion Post
Mayer, D.K. (2012). Anatomy of a drug shortage. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing 16
(2 ); 107-108
McKeever, A.E., Bloch, J.R., Bratic, A. (2012). Drug Shortages and the Burden of Access to
Care: A Critical Issue Affecting Patients with Cancer. Clinical Journal of Oncology
Nursing 17(5); 490-494

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