Drug shortages are common across medical specialties, however, shortages in emergency medicine are particularly serious. Patients may not have the option to wait weeks or months for available medicines when they need to be treated in minutes. Unfortunately, the medicines in shortage are not obscure. Often, they include items like saline solution that goes into an IV or other injectable medications that are relied on every day and in some cases may not have a substitute.
According to a recent survey from the American College of Emerency Physicians, nine out of 10 emergency physicians had experienced a drug shortage sometime within the past month, and nearly 70 percent found that drug shortages in their emergency department significantly increased over the last year. This is a systemic challenge that needs to be addressed. Emergency physicians are working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, members of Congress, drug supply chain partners and others to identify solutions to shortages.