Alert Notifications Now Available Through FDA's Upgraded Drug Shortages 2 App

The FDA recently announced an upgrade to the FDA Drug Shortages app that I blogged about last March (see below). This upgrade — Drug Shortages 2 — is the newest version of the FDA’s mobile app for Android devices. Now Android device users can choose to receive notification alerts when there is new information about drug product shortages or updated information about a drug within selected therapeutic categories. And there is more to come for Apple device users: the FDA is working on an iOS version that will be available soon, so stay tuned.

FDA's New Drug Shortages App Puts Info at Your Fingertips (March 16, 2015)

In case you missed it, the FDA recently announced its free FDA Drug Shortages mobile app. As the title suggests, the app’s intent is to make information about the current availability of medically necessary products readily available to pharmacists and other healthcare professionals who directly serve patients. This means supply issues can now be shared with the entire industry in a way that is faster and easier than ever before. While healthcare professionals can still check for drug supply updates on the FDA's website and/or subscribe to the Agency’s email notifications, those platforms are no longer the sole sources of information regarding drug availability.

The unfortunate truth is that drug shortages will always be a factor in the healthcare industry. (As evidence of that, check this recent blog post by Dr. Fred Gattas, who gives an excellent bird’s eye view on reasons why drug shortages have occurred, especially those in the last several years.)

Recognizing that truth, and as the person who tracks drug shortages on behalf of Jubilant Radiopharma Radiopharmacies Division's logistics team, this new app seemed like an innovative step forward and worth checking out. So that’s what I did.

Since its release for both Apple and Android devices (via iTunes and Google Play), I have been giving the Android version of the app a go on my Samsung mobile device. What I’ve found is the same information that is on the FDA’s website, but with the enhanced ability to easily and quickly access this information with my phone on the spot. It’s definitely easier than having to go to the computer or trying to view the website on my phone. No more pinching and zooming, and no more being able to see only part of the information!

Personally, I like the presentation of the information better on the app than on the website...but my preferences for how content looks and works best are just that, personal. I especially noticed differences when taking a look at Sodium Chloride 0.9% Injection Bags under the “Current Shortage” category. The app also has a “Report a Shortage” function, offers useful “Help & Support” links and provides a FAQs section. If you aren’t signed up for the helpful FDA email alerts, you can also do that here.

While this is not meant to be a review of the app, at first glance the intent of the FDA to provide new and easy-to-access platform for healthcare providers to keep abreast of drug shortage information seems to be on target. And, by the looks of it, the FDA has helped make my job easier!

—Another helpful resource available through the FDA is this recent, short-but-informative video: FDA Drug Info Rounds, which explains the NDC Directory in a great Q/A format and walks the viewer through how it can be used to search for NDC codes. 

— And, as a reminder, Jubilant Radiopharma Radiopharmacies Division procures and supplies FDA-approved radiopharmaceutical products exclusively from the FDA-approved cGMP compliant manufacturers.