Drug Shortages Reach Crisis Levels

By Mike McEvoy
EMS Editor

The number of drugs in short or non-existent availability during 2012 is unprecedented. Shortages of critical emergency medications and live saving cancer drugs have seriously affected patients.  Health care providers from fire and EMS departments to university teaching hospitals are daily required to invent creative work-arounds and find substitutions for essential medications.  In December 2011, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) offered testimony before the GAO (Government Accounting Office) to explain how the shortages evolved. CLICK HERE for a copy of the testimony (PDF).

Quite obviously, something is wrong in the United States; no other country currently faces similar shortages. On March 8, 2012, the IAFC issued a position statement on the Drug Shortage Crisis calling for a collaborative approach to investigating, managing, and resolving drug shortages.  Included are recommendations for Fire and EMS Chiefs faced with increasingly short supplies of EMS medications.

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