Drug and Medication shortage... "National backorder"

This is a discussion on Drug and Medication shortage... "National backorder" within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I work for a fire department as a fire fighter/paramedic. We provide EMS, including ambulance and air transport services. Part of my responsibilities include ordering ...

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Thread: Drug and Medication shortage... "National backorder"

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    VIP Member Array Superhouse 15's Avatar
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    Drug and Medication shortage... "National backorder"

    I work for a fire department as a fire fighter/paramedic. We provide EMS, including ambulance and air transport services. Part of my responsibilities include ordering medications for my station. Within the last couple of months we have been running out of stock of medications. Common stuff we use every day. Cardiac medications, Glucose for diabetics, meds to treat serious conditions are suddenly in short supply. The protocols we work under (all EMS providers are supervised by a doctor) even had to be changed to allow a different kind of medication to replace our first-round drug for cardiac arrest. We couldn't get Epinephrine (adrenaline) which is used in every arrest as well as other conditions. We have been told we can't get Lasix, Zofran, Lidocaine, and now maybe Nitroglycerine (for chest pain treatment), no drugs as an alternative are approved, and our supervisors are taking the spares from units that still have them and redistributing to those who are out. Normally the meds we get have a couple years of shelf life, lately we have been geting stuff with just over a year of useful life, and sometimes only a matter of a few months. Even IV bags of saline, the basis for most treatment, have been in short supply.

    Now to top it all off, my wife gets put on B12 shots, and we have to hunt a half dozen pharmacies to find one that has any, and the big ones (we use Walgreens) tell us the same thing as our agency. "national backorder, don't know when it wil be in stock"

    Anybody else noticing any trends? My wife and I are stocking up ahead as much as we can.
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    I have not had any trouble getting my meds but since most are generics it does seem like there is a different manufacturer each time.
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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    I've heard of D50 etc. shortages nearby but our Rx boxes only (for a year now) have been limited to rotating cycles of Valium, Ativan and Versed. Congress passed a law last year, signed by BO, that was supposed to stop these shortages of drugs. Big whup I guess.
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    Probably people hoarding, O care is just around the corner.
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    VIP Member Array packinnova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrBuckwheat View Post
    Probably people hoarding, O care is just around the corner.
    The pharmacies or their suppliers hoarding doesn't make sense...
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    Member Array linuss's Avatar
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    This is not new, has been going on for years. Many of the forumlaries have either shut down or make meds that give them a bigger profit margin instead of relatively cheap Epi and the like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Superhouse 15 View Post
    We have been told we can't get Lasix
    Good. Lasix is no longer recommended in emergency CHF care, as the majority of CHFers are not fluid overloaded but actually hypovolemic and lasix just makes it worse.


    My agency has gotten in contact with a formulary where they make all the meds we need, like Epi and Fentanyl. We're still short on Morphine so only our supervisors and Advanced Practice Paramedics get that, but I prefer fentanyl anyhow.

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    Senior Member Array nontechguy's Avatar
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    It's been happening for a while and it's only going to get worse.
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    Member Array Aiko's Avatar
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    it has been an ongoing problem for hospitals and to a lesser degree pharmacies for the past 2-3 years depending on the medications. Manufacturing and distribution issues at hand as well as quality issues that have caused some meds to be pulled or manufacturing to be stopped. The reality are some meds are expensive to produce and are not profitable and stock is managed closely my distributers. Just my 2 cents

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    Senior Member Array CanuckQue's Avatar
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    I'd be curious regarding the meta-economics of this phenomenon. Maybe the costs of manufacturing the compounds is rising and so organisations are less likely to buy? I have no idea.
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    Not good at all.

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    I'm a big chain pharmacist, and yes, back orders have been way up, but not at problematic levels. Most of the back orders can be remedied by either changing the drug, the company supplying or changing the strength (2 10 mg tabs instead of a 20 mg tab). Definitely haven't seen hoarding, but I guess it could be going on. To the OP, we haven't had any problems with some of those drugs you have listed, such as Lasix, not sure if the problem is with your supplier. While these back orders haven't impacted patients health yet, if they continue at their current pace, they sure could in the future.

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    Re: Drug and Medication shortage... "National backorder"

    We have the major drugs so far at the hospital I work at for cardiac arrests. But we have to mix them now to get the proper strengths.

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