31 October 2023

Critical medicine shortages on the agenda at Victorian Medicines Roundtable

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Medicine shortages were a key focus at the Victorian Medicines Roundtable earlier this month, attended by health service executives, clinicians, pharmacists, and representatives from state health departments, including South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

HSV Supply Chain Surety Director Kate Warren co-facilitated a workshop with Bayan Hosseini from NSW Health’s Clinical Excellence Commission on managing critical medicine shortages, where the discussion centred around the need to develop an inventory management capability across Victorian health services.

“It was an insightful and collaborative session that really highlighted the combined effort of health services, particularly over the past three years, to address medicine shortages,” says Kate.

“The event was a good opportunity for us to learn more about the challenges health services face and the programs they’ve put in place to improve patient safety. These insights will help us to be more strategic in the way that we deliver value to Victorian health services.”

Kate was also invited to present on HSV’s work to reduce supply chain risk, including the development of a Critical Supplies Register (CSR), which has identified more than 1,000 consumables, devices and pharmaceuticals critical to patient care, along with a set of recommendations to mitigate supply risks.

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(L to R) David Liew, Consultant Rheumatologist, Austin Health and Vice Chair, VicTAG, Kate Warren, Supply Chain Surety Director, HSV and Michael Dooley, Director of Pharmacy, Alfred Health.

Earlier this year HSV established the Victorian Medicines Availability Working Group with Victorian directors of pharmacy to create a more coordinated response to emerging supply issues. The group provides early warning of supply risks, guidance on medicine substitution and insights on patient care.

In the next 12 months HSV is planning to implement a new operating model for the Victorian Pharmaceutical Reserve and an improved procurement strategy for the pharmaceutical category. The Supply Chain Surety team will continue its engagement with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and other jurisdictions.

Suppliers must report shortages of prescription medicines and a small number of over-the-counter medicines to the TGA. There are more than 400 medicine shortages currently listed on the TGA database.

Other topics highlighted at the Victorian Medicines roundtable hosted by Safer Care Victoria (SCV) and the Victorian Therapeutics Advisory Group (VicTAG), were the safe management of blood thinning medications, reducing risk during transitions of care, and improving equity of access to high-cost medicines.

The ideas proposed at the roundtable will be collated and reviewed by SCV.

Top image (L to R) Paul Toner, Director of Pharmacy, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Kate Warren, Supply Chain Surety Director, HSV and Bayan Hosseini, Senior Improvement Lead, Clinical Excellence Commission, NSW Health.