The National Ketamine Shortage Grinds On Causing Major Disruptions

All across the nation ketamine is on backorder

Due to a staggering increase in demand for ketamine, there is a national shortage of this drug that is affecting thousands of clinics, hospitals, and providers. The major pharmaceutical companies that manufacture ketamine, Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Hospira, Pfizer, Mylan Institutional, and Par Pharmaceutical, continue to push back their expected supply dates which has been on ongoing issue for the past several months.

Reasons for the short supply

Hikma did not provide a reason for the shortage, Mylan Institutional did not provide a reason for the shortage, Par has Ketalar on shortage due to increased demand, and Pfizer has ketamine on shortage due to manufacturing delays.

Negative effect of a prolonged shortage

Clinics have lost millions of dollars in missed opportunities to provide IV ketamine. At $400 to upward of $700 per infusion, the amount lost per day adds up very quickly for clinics across the country. One organization estimates that the potential clinic revenue lost due to the shortage is on the order of $6 Mill in total.

As the ketamine shortage drags on, the reactions to the shortage become more pronounced. Clinic, hospitals, and providers may engage in hoarding, which becomes a large expense for large stockpiles and one that is risky. Unfortunately hoarded drugs may expire before they can be used. Hoarding of drugs, of course, also precipitates an even more acute shortage once the first rumors of an impending shortage surface.

Before the ketamine shortage, easy access to wholesale distributors for rapid replenishment encouraged many practices to use the economical drug reordering principle of “just in time,” similar to the philosophy of maintaining a very low inventory of parts that Japanese automobile manufacturers introduced to their industry. However, this shortage of ketamine is so dramatic and prolonged in the history of ketamine, that once supplies return then many parties will likely engage in some degree of hoarding behavior.