Analysis of drug shortages across two countries during pre-pandemic and pandemic times

Eliza Cameron, Mary Bushell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Drug shortages have a negative impact on individual health outcomes for patients and health care systems more broadly. In recent years, regulatory bodies, such as the Therapeutic Good Administration in Australia, have provided information about an increasing number of drug shortages. It is reported that 90% of medicines in Australia are imported; this leaves Australia vulnerable to international drug shortages. It has been suggested that Australia is heavily reliant on the US as its primary source of medicines. Objective(s): To determine whether there are significant trends in the quantity, frequency, and nature of drug shortages between the US and Australia in a pre-pandemic and pandemic climate. Methods: This study mapped and analyzed drug shortages reported by both the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in 2019 and 2020. Results: In 2019 (pre-COVID19), only 4% of US drug shortages were reported in Australia; this rose to 7% in 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, the number of US drug shortages increased by 37%, whilst the number of Australian drug shortages increased by 300%. Conclusions: The Australian pharmaceuticals market is indeed more vulnerable to drug shortages, particularly in the event of a global pandemic such as COVID-19. However, these shortages are not significantly influenced by the US drug market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1570-1573
Number of pages4
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


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