Drug Shortage: Causes, Impact, and Mitigation Strategies

Sundas Shukar, Fatima Zahoor, Khezar Hayat, Amna Saeed, Ali Hassan Gillani, Sumaira Omer, Shuchen Hu, Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar, Yu Fang, Caijun Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Drug shortage is a global issue affecting low, middle, and high-income countries. Many countries have developed various strategies to overcome the problem, while the problem is accelerating, affecting the whole world. All types of drugs, such as essential life-saving drugs, oncology medicines, antimicrobial drugs, analgesics, opioids, cardiovascular drugs, radiopharmaceutical, and parenteral products, are liable to the shortage. Among all pharmaceutical dosage forms, sterile injectable products have a higher risk of shortage than other forms. The causes of shortage are multifactorial, including supply issues, demand issues, and regulatory issues. Supply issues consist of manufacturing problems, unavailability of raw materials, logistic problems, and business problems. In contrast, demand issues include just-in-time inventory, higher demand for a product, seasonal demand, and unpredictable demand. For regulatory issues, one important factor is the lack of a unified definition of drug shortage. Drug shortage affects all stakeholders from economic, clinical, and humanistic aspects. WHO established global mitigation strategies from four levels to overcome drug shortages globally. It includes a workaround to tackle the current shortage, operational improvements to reduce the shortage risk and achieve early warning, changes in governmental policies, and education and training of all health professionals about managing shortages.
Original languageEnglish
Article number693426
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Early online date9 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Drug Shortage: Causes, Impact, and Mitigation Strategies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this