To minimize impacts on patient care associated with drug shortages, PBMs are leading crossindustry collaboration, including with pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacies, hospitals, and health plans, to facilitate Americans’ continued access to a safe, effective, and reliable supply of prescription drugs. If a shortage or supply disruption for a specific medication does occur, PBMs will work with the patient, their prescriber, and their health plan to identify a covered therapeutic substitute and help minimize patient impact caused by a shortage.
To avoid worsening any potential shortages or supply disruptions, not only of medications to treat COVID-19 but other essential prescription drugs, PCMA recommends federal, state, and local government leaders:
Urge patients to consider their personal circumstances, and if needed, consult their health care prescriber or pharmacist if they feel they need an early refill or other flexibilities;
Avoid policies that may have an unintended impact on the supply of pharmaceuticals in the United States (e.g., stockpiling or hoarding);
Issue clinical guidelines for health care providers to ensure that patients who have been on therapies for FDA-approved indications prior to the spread of COVID-19 still have appropriate access, as well as those with COVID-19;
Require greater and more timely reporting of shortages and/or supply disruptions, recognizing real-time data allows for the most optimal management of any disruptions to existing supplies, including to minimize patient impact; and
Allow PBMs and health plans to consider individual patient needs and clinical guidelines, particularly in cases where a greater supply is medically inappropriate and potentially unsafe.