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Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 1:28pm

Drug Shortages Worry Medical Community

Georgia’s emergency medical providers are warning ongoing drug shortages could soon threaten the care they’re able to provide in dire situations.

Emergency medical technicians said about 30 drugs currently on the Food and Drug Administration’s shortage list are used often in emergency and critical care situations. That includes pain medications; drugs like epinephrine, which is used for life-threatening allergic reactions; and atropine, which boosts heart rate.

Kim Littleton, executive director of the Georgia Association of Emergency Medical Services, said providers are doing their best to care for patients with fewer resources.

“But as we see the increasing problem with the shortages, it becomes increasingly harder to do that," Littleton said. "And there is concern, and should be concern from the patients’ standpoint, of being able to get the drugs that they need at that critical time.”

She said more than 60 percent of the supply issues are in five areas: cardiovascular, anti-infection, central nervous system, oncology and pain management drugs.

In a recent letter to the state’s public health commissioner, emergency doctors also warned the ongoing shortages are dangerous for patients.

According to the FDA, shortages have increased since 2010, especially for injectable drugs.

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