Medication Shortages


How can you prepare for a medication shortage?

  1. Anticipate shortages and monitor drug reports via your pharmaceutical supply vendors, FDA Drug Shortages website, and ASHP Drug Shortages website. Many medications on the FDA’s shortage list may be on allocation, and agencies are encouraged to order early and anticipate partial fulfillment.

  2. Engage multiple pharmaceutical suppliers, as deliveries and available supplies may fluctuate between vendors.

  3. Check the FDA website for any extended use dates by lot. Medications on the list may continue to be used in the regular inventory until their extended use dates.

  4. Conserve available inventory by:
    • redistributing field inventory based upon individual unit utilization history.
    • rotating stock strategically, including from reserve vehicles, backup supplies, or other caches.
    • reducing par levels of that above the requirements of CoSD EMS protocols and policies.
    • optimizing non-pharmacologic alternative therapies.

  5. Anticipate supply chain issues and order replacement medications well in advance of lot expirations.

  6. Communicate with other agencies to see if they are also experiencing difficulties obtaining certain medications.

  7. Work closely with your agency's physician to develop potential solutions.

  8. Check the feasibility of procuring medications through other agencies.

  9. Retain recently expired medications that do not have extended use dates for potential use on a case-by-case basis, if authorized by a base hospital physician.

  10. Notify County EMS of potential shortages via EMS Notifications.



Current Medication Shortages

Active Communications and Exemptions

Potential System-wide Shortages

  • Epinephrine 1:10,000
  • Albuterol