The United States has experienced fluctuating drug shortages for over a decade, with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attributing the issue to everything from the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters to quality control and supply chain issues.
Regardless of the source, these shortages continue to have detrimental impacts on millions of Americans, leading to adverse health effects and unanticipated costs from increased out-of-pocket payments and higher insurance premiums.
The unpredictability of drug shortages has led many people to turn to compounding pharmacies or facilities that prepare and mix medications in a tailored manner. Compounding medication has several unique benefits, including the ability to provide a personalized dosage and make allergen-free medication. Compounded medications also are typically made for individual usage and not mass-produced. This allows many compounding pharmacies to bypass the drug shortage by mixing non-commercially available medications in-house to avoid supply chain issues or providing alternative treatments when raw materials are in short supply.
AIS Healthcare, a leading provider of targeted drug delivery (TDD) and infusion care, is one pharmacy in a unique position to help patients during the ongoing drug shortage. With two 503A specialty compounding pharmacies, the company currently prepares patient-specific prescriptions for over 34,000 patients nationwide who require TDD treatments. Patients receive TDD medication through a pump that is surgically implanted in their body to dispense continuous doses directly to the individual’s spinal canal.
Many of AIS Healthcare’s patients live with severe chronic pain and rely on the compounding pharmacy and TDD service for small and precise doses of medication. Given the debilitating symptoms that many of AIS Healthcare’s patients face on a daily basis, the company’s presence as an accredited, reliable, and high-quality compounding pharmacy has been crucial throughout the drug shortage for much-needed pain medications.
The FDA considers a drug to be in shortage when its commercially available supply cannot fulfill the current or projected consumer demand. The United States has experienced consistent drug shortages since 2011’s record of 251 drugs on the shortlist. In 2022, the FDA reported 49 drug shortages, with many current shortages attributed to quality issues and COVID-related capacity constraints. While 2022 represents a moderate year for drug shortages, the potential for shortages to delay or deny patients necessary care is still an urgent concern.
About one in three hospitals report skipping, delaying, or prescribing patients with less medication than needed due to drug supply concerns, according to a study published by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and reported on by NBC News.
While shortages typically impact generic, low-priced drugs and injectable drugs, the entire industry is prone to shortages due to complex manufacturing processes and comprehensive sterilization requirements. In many cases, manufacturers and compounders cannot produce these drugs as their facilities lack up-to-date manufacturing technologies and quality control assurances. Given the invaluable benefits that injectable medications provide, AIS Healthcare has gone above and beyond to avoid the potential impact of drug shortages on their patients.
AIS Healthcare: Higher Standards to Lessen Drug Shortage Impacts
AIS Healthcare has been able to avoid common problems associated with the shortage by significantly investing in its 503A specialty compounding pharmacies, ensuring their TDD prescriptions exceed industry standards and expectations in terms of sterility and quality. For continuously exhibiting unprecedented quality, the company has received URAC specialty pharmacy accreditation, the gold standard for TDD, and earned accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC).
AIS Healthcare’s continued investment in upgraded equipment and highly trained pharmacists has allowed their pharmacies to fill prescriptions of several shortlisted medications over the years, continuing their commitment to bettering their patients’ lives.
There are four frequently used critical pain medications on the FDA shortlist that are currently available through AIS Healthcare. These include fentanyl citrate, hydromorphone hydrochloride, morphine sulfate, and sufentanil citrate. All four medications can be produced by AIS Healthcare because the company has supply agreements in place to ensure ongoing availability.
AIS Healthcare not only keeps the raw materials for these medications in stock but ensures that 100% of stock solutions are third-party tested for pH, sterility, potency, endotoxins, and particulate matter. AIS Healthcare places incredible emphasis on the sterility of its products and maintains 1:1,000,000 sterility assurance levels by using a proven, proprietary process on all patient-specific prescriptions that combines aseptic processing with terminal sterilization.
Each of AIS Healthcare’s pharmacies has multiple controlled rooms exceeding required International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for cleanliness and air quality.
With no end in sight for drug shortages, AIS Healthcare continues to prepare and ship 140,000 patient-specific prescriptions per year via overnight delivery to all 50 states. AIS Healthcare has shown an unwavering dedication to providing medication for patients facing complex diagnoses and debilitating pain. The future of drug shortages may be uncertain, but AIS Healthcare is certain to do its part in alleviating the issue.
We review published medical research in respected scientific journals to arrive at our conclusions about a product or health topic. This ensures the highest standard of scientific accuracy. Drug Shortages: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/drug-shortages
 AIS Healthcare's Evolution and Growth: https://www.360dallas.com/blog/health-beauty/AIS-Healthcares-Evolution-and-Growth.html
 Drug Shortages Are a Boon to One Industry: Compounding Pharmacies: https://www.wsj.com/articles/drug-shortages-compounding-pharmacies-medicine-bae67d98
 At AIS Healthcare, we do what’s right—not just what’s expected. The results are life changing.: https://www.aiscaregroup.com/