An application of multi-criteria decision-making approach to sustainable drug shortages management: evidence from a developing country
Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Care and Sciences
Drug shortage is a significant public health problem, especially for drugs related to life threatening conditions. Almost all countries affected by variety of supply problems and spent a considerable amount of time and resources responding to shortage. The aim of present study is to determine and prioritize strategies to achieve best solutions for these considerable healthcare system challenges and to evaluate this strategies base on practical criteria. To achieve the study objectives, the
... bjectives, the research was conducted in two phases. Determining of the strategies to control drug shortage, and comprehensive assessments of priority of possible strategies. For each phase, a self-design questionnaire was developed. The five main managerial strategies dimensions including: regulatory, financial, supply chain, information system and policy-making were set out. Forty-five alternatives were elicited from literature, and were evaluated and trimmed to 37 strategies based on experts' opinion. The Multiple criteria decision-making (MCDM) methods were applied in second phase. Five important criteria including cost, time, labor, compliance with law and culture were weighed by Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) technique. Then, 37 alternatives have been rated base on the five criteria on the Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) technique. "Creating integrated Supply chain information system to manage medicines inventory in the country", "Creating and using the databases to predict the shortage of medicines", "Using track and trace system" are alternatives 20th, 24th and 25th, which related to supply chain (SC) and information system (IS) dimensions have higher priority in the experts' point of view. The results show IS dimension has 100 percentage of priority; following that policy and supply chain have higher priority, respectively. Health systems rely on consistent supplying of pharmaceuticals to support patient care. The results show that information system, policy-making and supply chain are in the top-ranking priorities. Warning system needs to be improved to the advance system via better collaboration with stakeholders, publish precise and explicit national guidelines for drug shortage management, enforce the guidelines, and improve Iran FDA's pharmaceutical market control capability.