Medicines Shortages Reporting Systems (MSRS): An exploratory review of access and sustainability

Emilia Vann Yaroson, Gemma Quinn, Liz Breen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The efficacy of medicines depends on their accessibility and availability. Dedicated medicine shortage reporting systems (MSRS) have been set up in different countries, either mandatory or voluntary, following the recommendations of the World Health Organisation to ensure these.

To explore how the Medicine Shortages Reporting System (MSRS) can tackle medicine shortages through improved access and sustainability.

Personnel directly involved in the reporting mechanisms for medicine shortages in eight (8) countries participated in semi-structured interviews. An interview protocol based on the Dynamic Capabilities View and Organisational Information Processing Theory (OIPT) was developed. It contained questions related to participant's views on the process involved in MSRS and how it was used to tackle shortages. Data were thematically analysed.

Three core elements were identified to influence MSRS's ability to tackle shortages and ensure sustainability; (1) the ability to identify what information requirements the reporting system needs, (2) identify information processing capabilities, and (3) the ability to match requirements and information processing capabilities through a dynamic capability decision-making process. The dynamic decision-making process involves reiteratively sensing shortages by understanding and validating information received.

Building MSRS to tackle shortages for accessibility and sustainability is a systemic process that entails understanding the various elements and processes of MSRS. It includes defining medicine shortages, reconfiguring resources, defining accessibility and ensuring the system's sustainability. Our study provides insights into MSRS developed for mitigating medicine shortages and provides a framework for a sustainable MSRS. The findings extend the literature on medicine shortage management by identifying the various elements required to set up an MSRS. It also provides practical implications for countries that seek to establish MSRS to mitigate medicine shortages. Further studies could extend the number of participating countries to provide a clearer picture of the MSRS and how it can reduce medicine shortages.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 13 Feb 2024

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