ASHP’s Drug Shortages Database Now Available through STAT!Ref

Reports of drug shortages date back many years and there are numerous reasons for shortages in a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. ASHP’s (American Society of Health-System Pharmacists®) Drug Shortages Database is a leading source of evidence-based drug shortage information for both professional health care workers and consumers. Drug Shortages is copyrighted by the Drug Information Service of the University of Utah and is distributed by ASHP.

ASHP’s Drug Shortages Database includes:

  • Over 300 shortage bulletins on drugs, biologics, devices, and specific dose forms
  • The only source of drug shortage information that includes recommendations for alternative therapies
  • Active monitoring and regular communication with manufacturers for ongoing shortages
  • Daily updates

*List derived from American Society of Health-System Pharmacists®

How is ASHP’s Drug Shortages different from the FDA’s CDER (Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research) website? For instance, Drug Shortages lists more drugs and provides help for managing shortages. For more information about the differences, see the FDA and ASHP Shortage Parameters comparison chart. Continue reading

Meet HSLS Remote “Colleagues”

Dogs and cats in work spaces
For the foreseeable future, HSLS staff and faculty will be spending a lot more time at home with their non-traditional “co-workers.” We aren’t talking about human co-workers. We are speaking about our furry, scaly, and slimy “co-workers” who work for cuddles and treats, also known as our pets. The majority of HSLS staff and faculty have been working from home since March. While we certainly miss being in-person with our library family, we have been fortunate enough in the past few months to work alongside our lovely additional “co-workers” at home. Continue reading

HSLS Guides: Updated Look and Frequently Updated Content

HSLS offers a vast amount of 24/7 online content for the health sciences, including what we call subject guides, which bring together important links and information for a specific purpose. You may have already encountered a guide designed specifically for your school, such as Nursing or Pharmacy. Beyond these portals, HSLS also has guides that provide educational content for HSLS workshops, as well as Pitt courses where faculty librarians are guest lecturers. Guides can help you locate special resources, like bioinformatics software or electronic research notebooks that are free for Pitt researchers. Continue reading

Featured Workshop: Painless PubMed

Painless PubMedMedical students listening sitting at desk is one of HSLS’s most popular workshops since PubMed is a go-to resource for searching health sciences literature. While it is likely that you have searched PubMed before, it is important to consider whether you are getting the search results you want or expect. If not, you might want to consider taking Painless PubMed. The Painless PubMed workshop is named appropriately, allowing attendees to use PubMed in a truly painless way. Continue reading

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: The Curious Life of the Medical Battery

Battery in a case with wires

Physicians recognized the therapeutic use of electricity as early as the 1st century AD, centuries before the invention of modern electrotherapeutic devices. Scribonus Largus, the court physician to Roman Emperor Claudius, developed an interesting prescription for gout and headache. The advice was to stand on a torpedo fish, which was thought to deliver a strong electric discharge. The 18th century brought further developments by Luigi Galvani, the discoverer of animal electricity, and Alessandro Volta, inventor of the early electric battery.

Batteries used in electrotherapy evolved dramatically in the 19th century. Early ones used chemical reaction to produce electricity. Wet cells used in these batteries were prone to leakage. The invention of dry cells, in which paste replaced electrolytes, made them more portable. Batteries could provide direct current (galvanic), alternating current (faradic) or both. The variety of available devices made possible the advancement of electrotherapeutics. The widest use of medical batteries occurred between 1870 and 1920. These were considered to be a legitimate medical tool to provide electrical treatments both at home and in the clinic. Medical batteries fell out of favor in the 20th century. Today, when they appear on the antique markets or eBay, they are dubbed as “quack medical devices.” Why is that?

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HSLS Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, etc.

Names in bold are HSLS-affiliated


Kate Flewelling, Executive Director, NNLM Middle Atlantic Region, was appointed Co-Chair of the Medical Library Association’s National Program Committee for the 2023 Annual Conference.

Tess Wilson, All of Us Community Engagement Coordinator, has been accepted as a fellow with the Pittsburgh Chapter of the New Leaders Council. This six-month leadership program equips participants with a foundation of skills and resources to become effective leaders and agents of change in their communities. Continue reading