Skip to Main Content

The number of new drug shortages in the U.S. increased by 27 percent in 2018, after three consecutive years in which the dearth of needed medicines remained troubling, if relatively stable, according to a new analysis.

Specifically, there were 186 new shortages noted last year, up from 146 in 2017, and this was also the highest amount since 2012, when 204 new drug shortages were seen. Injectable medicines used in hospitals accounted for more than half — or 55 percent — of the newest shortages, a decline from 64 percent in 2016. The number of ongoing shortages, meanwhile, remained at similar levels from 2016 to 2018.


The recent increase in new shortages occurs amid ongoing concern over a lack of medications across the U.S. due to various reasons: companies exiting markets for some treatments, quality-control problems at manufacturing plants, and, in some cases, lingering outages resulting from Hurricane Maria, which in September 2017 struck Puerto Rico, where many drug makers have facilities.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!


Comments are closed.