IAFC Issues Position on Drug Shortage

The IAFC has issued a position on the nationwide drug shortage.

The statement comes about a week after a new focus group announced the drug shortage was one of its major areas of concern.

“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.”

The IAFC was included in the new group, and had representatives in attendance at the inaugural meeting in Baltimore.

The National Joint EMS Leadership Forum – comprised of representatives of several organizations – narrowed their focus to two issues – the nationwide drug shortage and NEMSIS.

The group discussed a number of matters during its inaugural meeting last week in Baltimore.

“We came up with a dozen things that need attention. But, we agreed to look at those two first,” said Dia Gainor, executive director of National Association of State EMS Officials.

NEMSIS is a database established to collect, store and share EMS information. It is a project of NHTSA.

The nationwide drug shortage and expiration of medications also has providers concerned. Two working groups will delve into these issues.

“The national drug shortage is having a major impact on fire-based EMS, but it is also a larger public safety issue,” said IAFC President Al Gillespie. “Even if your department does not provide EMS, the repercussions of shortages in your community can negatively impact your ability to successfully save lives and the ability of others to help responders in need of emergency care. I encourage every fire service leader to educate themselves on this issue and become a part of the solution.”

The IAFC statment can be viewed here.