Availability and use of therapeutic interchange policies in managing antimicrobial shortages among south african public sector hospitals; findings and implications

Audrey K. Chigome, Moliehi Matlala*, Brian Godman, Johanna C. Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Therapeutic interchange policies in hospitals are useful in dealing with antimicrobial shortages and minimising resistance rates. The extent of antimicrobial shortages and availability of therapeutic interchange policies is unknown among public sector hospitals in South Africa. This study aimed to ascertain the extent of and rationale for dealing with antimicrobial shortages, describe policies or guidelines available, and the role of pharmacists in the process. Methods: A quantitative and descriptive study was conducted with a target population of 403 public sector hospitals. Data were collected from hospital pharmacists using an electronic questionnaire via SurveyMonkey™. Results: The response rate was 33.5% and most (83.3%) hospitals had experienced shortages in the previous six months. Antimicrobials commonly reported as out of stock included cloxacillin (54.3%), benzathine benzylpenicillin (54.2%), and erythromycin (39.6%). Reasons for shortages included pharmaceutical companies with supply constraints (85.3%) and an inefficient supply system. Only 42.4% had therapeutic interchange policies, and 88.9% contacted the prescriber, when present, for substitution. Conclusions: Antimicrobial shortages are prevalent in South African public sector hospitals with the most affected being penicillins and cephalosporins. Therapeutic interchange policies are not available at most hospitals. Effective strategies are required to improve communication between pharmacists and prescribers to ensure that safe, appropriate, and therapeutically equivalent alternatives are available.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4
JournalAntibiotics
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Antimicrobial shortages
  • Antimicrobial stewardship
  • Pharmacists
  • Public sector hospitals
  • South Africa
  • Therapeutic interchange

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