New Resources for Regional Medication Shortages

The following resource was produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:

Access to medications is a problem plaguing healthcare providers across the United States, and EMS systems have not been immune. From dextrose to epinephrine to sodium bicarbonate, many of the common drugs found on an ambulance have been on short supply the last few years, forcing agencies to adjust protocols and find alternatives.

In a recent webinar co-hosted by the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the  Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO),  experts discussed issues faced by communities and health systems  confronting these shortages, including ethical considerations and the need for regional, collaborative discussions. Speakers included Capt. Valerie Jensen, RPh, Associate Director of the Drug Shortage Staff, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, US Food and Drug Administration; Jim Blumenstock, Chief Program Officer, Health Security, ASTHO; and Dan Hanfling, MD, Contributing Scholar, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Health Security, and Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine, George Washington University.

In addition, Judy Seaberg, Healthcare Preparedness Program Manager, Minnesota Department of Health, and Jeffrey Dichter, MD, a critical care specialist at Minnesota’s Unity Hospital, presented a case study of how a specific drug shortage was handled at the state level through health care coalitions and at the bedside by making ethical and evidence-based changes to care plans.

Access the recording of the webinar, Clinicians and Coalitions: A Conversation about Finding Solutions for Medication Shortages, here. You will be asked to enter your name and email address prior to accessing the recording. The PowerPoint also can be accessed on ASPR TRACIE. The title page of the PowerPoint presentation has a link to the facilitated discussion and follow-up questions.

Also available is a new report developed by ASPR, EMS Infectious Disease Playbook, that unifies multiple sources of information addressing the full spectrum of infectious agents to create a concise reference resource for EMS agencies developing their service policies.