The critical care drug requirements paper by MOIC has now been published in EJHP and can be accessed via this link:

The main aim of this work was to develop a process to estimate critical care drug requirements to robustly inform regional procurement planning and preparedness in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The objectives were to identify critical care drugs required, obtain patient usage data and consider current regional practice to establish the requirement.

Assuring the availability of critical medicines at the point of need during a pandemic is particularly complex. The balance between ‘normal’ supply and demand is eroded as demand escalates and organisations may order excess stock to maintain continuity of supply, placing further pressure on already constrained medicines and the supply chain.

A collaborative approach to planning is required, between manufacturers, wholesalers/suppliers, health departments, Trusts and medicines procurement specialists. A key component of this is to estimate critical drug requirements to meet demand, both currently and for the anticipated surge.

As a result of this work a regional database was constructed and used to produce a model for calculating approximate critical drug requirements. The model was used to map critical drug requirements to available stock in Trusts and wholesalers/suppliers, enabling the identification of treatment capacity for these medicines regionally, both currently and for projected surges. Data have also been used in the preparation of weekly regional situation reports for onward reporting to the HSC Board and the Department of Health.

Cathy Harrison, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer at the Department of Health, commenting ‘I very much welcome the development of the supply and demand model for critical care medicines and I support its use for managing and monitoring other groups of essential medicines and healthcare supplies at risk of potential shortages.  The model provided essential information and assurance during the response to COVID-19 and I commend all those involved in its development’.

Pharmaceutical interventions and medicines optimisation are essential components of the healthcare response to COVID-19. Medicines are a clinical priority and are required to support both patients and front-line clinical staff in their efforts to deal with the virus and to optimise patient care. As a result, there has been an unprecedented global demand on supportive medicines, particularly in critical care.

Interview with Anita Hogg