Parenteral nutrition product shortages: impact on safety

JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2012 Mar;36(2 Suppl):44S-47S. doi: 10.1177/0148607111434777. Epub 2012 Jan 26.


The drug shortage crisis continues in the United States and threatens the integrity of the pharmaceutical supply chain and compromises patient care, especially patients requiring parenteral nutrition (PN) therapy. The number of new drug shortages has increased rapidly over the past 5 years, with the most significant increase in sterile injectable products. The most common reason for a shortage of a sterile injectable medication is a product quality issue. Two surveys of healthcare professionals have assessed the impact of drug shortages on patient safety. Participants in one survey reported over 1000 medication errors or patient adverse events as the result of shortages. The American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition also conducted a survey of healthcare professionals regarding PN product shortages and the associated patient care implications. Safety risks were reported throughout the entire PN process, from procurement of PN products to patient outcomes. Providing PN therapy during product shortages requires vigilance and continuous assessment of the entire PN process to optimize patient care quality and avoid patient harm.

MeSH terms

  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors
  • Parenteral Nutrition / standards*
  • Patient Safety / standards*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / supply & distribution*
  • Risk
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations