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EMS agencies wary over drug shortages

'There's going to be some med there's no replacement for'

July 17, 2012
Although it hasn't yet caused a significant problem, local emergency medical services are watching a national medication shortage with some concern.

It's not really a new problem, but it is fairly extensive, with major manufacturers reporting manufacturing delays, component delivery issues and other concerns surrounding dozens of drugs. The FDA maintains a "voluntary" list of them at its website – http://www.fda.gov/drugs/drugsafety/drugshortages/default.htm – and 16 of the 34 drugs the state requires EMS agencies to carry (plus two optional ones) are on it. Many are not well-known outside the medically trained community – such as furosemide and midazolam – but others are common – epinephrine, dextrose and even diphenhydramine.

"It is something that effects us, and has been coming for the past year or so. It kind of comes in waves," said Lt. Justin Brigham, an Auburn Fire Department paramedic.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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