FDA Launches Mobile App for Drug Shortages

Zosia Chustecka

March 05, 2015

Drug shortages have plagued healthcare in the United States in recent years, causing problems when supplies of commonly used drugs suddenly dry up, forcing physicians to change the treatment they prescribed for their patients.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working to reduce the problem of drug shortages, and while some issues have been solved — for instance, the shortage of the front-line tuberculosis therapy isoniazid — shortages persist in several therapeutic fields, and one of those hardest hit has been oncology.

Now the FDA has launched a mobile phone application (app) specifically designed to speed public access to valuable information about drug shortages.

The app identifies current drug shortages, resolved shortages, and discontinuations of drug products, the agency notes. It can be searched by generic or brand name, and even by therapeutic category.

"The FDA understands that healthcare professionals and pharmacists need real-time information about drug shortages to make treatment decisions," said Valerie Jensen, associate director of the Drug Shortage Staff in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "The new mobile app is an innovative tool that will offer easier and faster access to important drug shortage information."

The app can also be used to report a suspected drug shortage or supply issue to the FDA. It was developed as part of the agency's Strategic Plan for Preventing and Mitigating Drug Shortages.

The app is available for free download via iTunes (for Apple devices) and the Google Play store (for Android devices) by searching "FDA Drug Shortages."

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