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Report Released on the Impact of the National Drug Shortage on Emergency Care

Oct 17, 2012

The Emergency Care Coordination Center (ECCC), Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has issued a report titled "The Impact of the National Drug Shortage on Emergency Care."

Over the last six years, drug shortages of medications have nearly quadrupled from a peak of approximately 70 drugs in shortage during 2006 to a peak of 267 today. It is estimated that nearly 40% of drugs in shortage impact the delivery of emergency care (EC) by virtue of the shortage’s strong effect on the availability of sterile injectables widely used in the EC setting. Outside of EC, cardiovascular, oncology, anesthetic, analgesic, and anti-infective medications are routinely in short supply.

The national drug shortage is so acute that at times the only way health care administrators have known a drug is in shortage is when it was missing from a manufacturer’s shipment. A meeting of stakeholders held in April 2012 and hosted by the ECCC gathered input from private medical and pharmaceutical organizations on what they considered to be the factors and effects of the national drug shortage, and the coping strategies they have employed. Click here to view the report.