The FDA recently announced the formation of a new drug shortages task force to improve the supply of crucial drugs including injectable opioids and local anesthetics, which can affect the care for thousands of patients undergoing anesthesia every day.

American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) President James D. Grant, M.D., M.B.A., FASA, is available to discuss the unprecedented and dangerous shortages of injectable opioids and anesthetic drugs which are affecting physician anesthesiologists and their patients across the county with potential serious consequences.

The FDA announcement follows action by ASA and other stakeholders asking for permanent solutions to this problem. With encouragement from stakeholders, a bipartisan group of more than 130 lawmakers from both chambers of Congress sent formal Congressional letters to the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to address critical shortages of injectable anesthetics and intravenous pain medications.

In an informal ASA member survey, conducted earlier this year, more than 98 percent of respondents noted they regularly experience drug shortages at their institutions and more than 95 percent of respondents said the shortages impact the way they treat their patients. 

Dr. Grant can discuss:

  • How shortages of injectable opioids and local anesthetics are affecting anesthesiology practices throughout the country.
  • The multiple causes cited for the shortages, including: pharmaceutical company consolidation, a vulnerable supply chain including production limits from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, key supplies of these drugs being limited to a single manufacturer, lack of back-up production and reliance on a production facility in Puerto Rico that was damaged during Hurricane Maria.
  • A historical perspective on drug shortages which happen cyclically, and the fact that this crisis appears to be more significant than past shortages.

ASA has joined other organizations affected by these shortages to encourage Congress to reexamine drug shortages and request the Department of Health and Human Services to convene key stakeholders, such as the FDA, the DEA, DHS, manufacturers and organizations that represent specialties whose patients are affected by the shortages, to work together to develop solutions to combat this serious issue. We are pleased the FDA has taken the first-step toward convening key stakeholders.

Please let us know if you would like to speak to Dr. Grant. Additional information on ASA’s response to the drug shortage crisis is available here.