Committees  |   December 2013
Practical Considerations With Drug Shortages
Author Affiliations
  • Jeffrey S. Jacobs, M.D.
    Committee on Ethics
Article Information
Ethics / Medicolegal Issues / Advocacy and Legislative Issues / Quality Improvement / Committees
Committees   |   December 2013
Practical Considerations With Drug Shortages
ASA Monitor 12 2013, Vol.77, 40-41.
ASA Monitor 12 2013, Vol.77, 40-41.
Anesthetic drug shortages have become widespread, and these shortages have impacted nearly every practicing physician at one time or another. The causes of drug shortages have been explained by everything from a lack of raw materials to misguided legislation leading to a failed market. Whether the cause is either of these, both of them, or due to factors completely unrelated, most physicians are only concerned with, “how do I deal with these shortages?” The ASA Committee on Ethics discussed this topic and developed statements that address these profound questions:
Drug shortages affect the way we care for our patients to such an extent that some may refer to shortages as a public health crisis. In many situations, we are forced to use medications with which we are not accustomed, and in some circumstances, we need to use medications that may result in less-than-optimal outcomes for our patients. There is no question that anesthesiologists have an ethical responsibility to participate in the development of solutions to this societal problem.
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