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Drug Shortages Impacting Nearly All Pharmacies, PTCB Survey Finds

September 21, 2023

Washington, D.C. – In a recent online survey conducted by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) of Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhTs) who hold PTCB’s Supply Chain and Inventory Management Certificate, nearly 96 percent of respondents said their pharmacy faces drug shortages.

Survey respondents identified chemotherapy drugs, medicines for ADHD, GLP-1 agonists for weight loss and diabetes (Mounjaro, Ozempic, and Wegovy), and local anesthetics such as lidocaine as the top drugs experiencing shortages. 

Seventy-two percent of respondents said drug shortages very significantly or significantly impact their workflow. “The impact of drug shortages not only affects patient care but also staffing and workflow,” one respondent answered. “We prioritize addressing and reacting to the shortage to ensure we don’t have gaps in patient care.”

To address drug shortage issues, ninety percent of respondents recommend alternative drugs when available, but nearly half the time (45%), they are unable to fill that prescription.

When a comparable drug is not available, pharmacy technicians utilize their pharmacy’s compounding services (28.79%) or refer to another compounding pharmacy (6.06%). Others collaborate with other pharmacy teams. “We run weekly shortage calls as a system to address shortages,” said one respondent.

“It’s no surprise that pharmacy technicians are actively working on solutions to mitigate drug shortages for their patients. I’m impressed by the spirit of collaboration, even outside of the pharmacy where they work,” said PTCB CEO William Schimmel. “Some respondents told us they called drug reps to find medication for their patients. That just shows what a vital part pharmacy technicians play in healthcare delivery.”

As drug shortages persist, pharmacy technicians with advanced and specialty credentials are an effective agent in mitigating the problem.

Survey Methodology 

PTCB fielded an online survey in August 2023 to Certified Pharmacy Technicians (CPhT) with a Supply Chain and Inventory Management Certificate. Seventy-four CPhTs–more than half of Supply Chain and Inventory Management Certificate earners–across community (14%), health-system (62%), and other (24%) pharmacy practice settings responded. 




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