The shortage of chemotherapy drugs

Answer the following Questions:
1-How does the shortage of chemotherapy drugs impact health care?
2-Are work arounds such as substitute medications a safe alternative? Why or why not?
3-Identify an intervention that you can implement as the RN to advocate for safe patient
care and positive patient outcomes when drug shortages occur.


The shortage of chemotherapy drugs causes the increase in the compromised patients care
and healthcare costs. The delivery of healthcare is affected also leading to poor adherence to the
research protocols in the health sector. The patient safety is not guaranteed with the shortage of
the drugs. There have been many cases of canceled treatment and delayments which negatively
impact healthcare. As a result of the delays and cancellations, the patients suffer fatal side-effect
toxicities and cases of chemotherapy complications due to the shortage of drugs (Mayer, 2012).
Death also occurs due to the medical errors resulting from the shortage of drugs. The shortage of
drugs has also negatively impacted the medical reimbursement. The healthcare is affected
negatively by the many challenges in reimbursement that result due to the drugs shortage

(Mckeever et al, 2013). The shortage of the chemotherapy drugs has prompted the clinicians and
pharmacists to find alternative means of solving the crisis. The pharmacists have become
proactive and provided a list of the alternative agents for the drugs that are in shortage. The
alternative agents provided are compared to the drugs about dosing at the onset of action and
duration at the end of clinical dosing. The main reason as to why there are works around when it
comes to the drug shortage issues is to deal with the daily challenges and future problems that
might come along. The pharmacists and medical practitioners seek to support patient care by
coming up with the alternative to acting as substitute medication (Mayer, 2012).
One of the intervention strategies I would adopt is the provision of education and putting
more focus on the illness prevention. Such effort that seeks to prevent illnesses is teaching better
habits, nutrition and also exercises methods. Communicating with others about the issue to
ensure they have a collective voice when it comes to the drugs supply shortage (Mckeever et al,
2013). Advocating for a system that gives a vital and exclusive perspective when it comes to
patient care would contribute to having more positive outcomes among the patients. Starting and
providing the support groups for the patients and their family members is essential when
interacting with them during the drug shortage crisis. In a nutshell, implementing of the efficient
and reliable protocol goes a long way in ensuring drug shortage is properly addressed.



Mayer, D. K. (2012). Anatomy of a drug shortage. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 16(2),
McKeever, A. E., Bloch, J. R., & Bratic, A. (2013). Drug shortages and the burden of access to
care: A critical issue affecting patients with cancer.Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing,
17(5), 490-495. doi:10.1188/13.CJON.490-495