July 12, 2012
Emergency responders in various jurisdictions have reported struggling to deal with a shortage of drug supplies created by manufacturing delays and industry changes.
Some paramedics are injecting expired medications, despite a risk they won't work as intended. Others are scrambling to train paramedics to use alternative medications. In some cases, ambulance crews have simply gone without drugs they can't buy.
One Central Oregon fire department reported using expired supplies of 11 medications at the peak of the crisis earlier this year. Another in Arizona went three weeks without any drugs to treat seizures.
The University of Utah's Drug Information Service reports a shortage of 275 medications.
The drug industry and the FDA say they're working on solutions. Oregon has eased restrictions on the use of expired drugs.