Critical Drug Shortages


Fire departments and EMS agencies have been experiencing critical shortages of drugs that are used to save lives.  In the past five years the number of drug shortages has tripled and are becoming more severe and more frequent.

The IAFC Board of Directors has adopted a position statement regarding the trends of these critical drug shortages used to save the lives of patients suffering from trauma or other medical emergency.  The IAFC Position Statement on the National Drug Shortage includes three components:

  • An educational component on the national drug shortage including associated risks, identification of factors contributing to the national drug shortage and fire department impact.
  • An outline of the IAFC positions on issues relating to federal investment and processes, national laws and regulations, and improved interagency collaborations.
  • Suggested actions for fire and emergency service leaders.

“A solution must be found; paramedics must have the crucial and necessary drugs to save the lives of their patients,” said Chief Gary Ludwig, chair of the IAFC EMS Section. “The ability to administer the appropriate pharmaceutical products to patients in the field can be the difference between life and death. We all know that rapid intervention is essential in these situations; waiting to administer life-saving drugs until the victim reaches an emergency room—at least 10 to 15 minutes after we have begun care—creates a serious and unnecessary risk.”

What affect are the national drug shortages having on your department?