April 25, 2018
DEA Addresses Drug Shortages Following ASA Letter
Less than two months after the American Society of Anesthesiologists, along with the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) and other drug shortage stakeholders sent a joint letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requesting the agency adjust aggregate production quotas (APQ) for certain opioids in order to mitigate ongoing drug shortages, the DEA announced it has raised production quotas for two drug manufacturers to mitigate the shortage of opioid injectables.
In the formal communication sent on February 27, the organizations wrote that hospitals and other providers are currently facing critical shortages of a number of injectable opioid medications, including morphine, hydromorphone, and fentanyl, used for sedation in surgery, intensive care units, and patients that have a contraindication for oral opioid medications. In the DEA's April 10 announcement, it stated the agency was working to ensure patient access to "certain injectable products that contain morphine, hydromorphone, meperidine, and fentanyl."
ASA applauds the DEA's decision to protect patient safety, since shortages of injectable opioids may threaten patient care in hospitals and surgical centers as delays in surgeries may be life-threatening to the patient or increase the risk of medication errors.