The impact of anti-infective drug shortages on hospitals in the United States: trends and causes

Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Mar 1;54(5):684-91. doi: 10.1093/cid/cir954. Epub 2012 Jan 19.


Anti-infective shortages pose significant logistical and clinical challenges to hospitals and may be considered a public health emergency. Anti-infectives often represent irreplaceable life-saving treatments. Furthermore, few new agents are available to treat increasingly prevalent multidrug-resistant pathogens. Frequent anti-infective shortages have substantially altered patient care and may lead to inferior patient outcomes. Because many of the shortages stem from problems with manufacturing and distribution, federal legislation has been introduced but not yet enacted to provide oversight for the adequate supply of critical medications. At the local level, hospitals should develop strategies to anticipate the impact and extent of shortages, to identify therapeutic alternatives, and to mitigate potential adverse outcomes. Here we describe the scope of recent anti-infective shortages in the United States and explore the reasons for inadequate drug supply.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / supply & distribution*
  • Humans
  • Inventories, Hospital*
  • Root Cause Analysis
  • United States


  • Anti-Infective Agents