• Injections used in the emergency room for certain types of cardiac arrest.
• Certain versions of pills for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
• Some leuprolide hormone injections used in fertility treatment.
No one is tracking patient harm, but in the fall, the nonprofit Institute for Safe Medication Practices said it had two reports of people who had died from the wrong dose of a substitute painkiller used during a morphine shortage.
“Every pharmacist in every hospital across the country is working to make sure those things don’t happen, but shortages create the perfect storm for a medication error to happen,” said University of Utah pharmacist Erin Fox, who oversees the shortage-tracking program.
What can be done?
The FDA has taken an unusual step, asking some foreign companies to temporarily ship to the U.S. their own versions of some scarce drugs that aren’t normally sold here. That eased shortages of propofol, a key anesthesia drug, and the transplant drug thiotepa.
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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