NAEMSP Addresses Drug Shortage Issues Amidst Legislative Action Around the Opioid Epidemic
July 9, 2018
Late last month, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would be considering the Opioid Quota Reform Act (S. 2535), which would give the Attorney General new authorities around modifying the production quotas of certain controlled substances. While the diversion of illegal opioids is concerning for a number of reasons, legislation that allows for reducing production quotas of certain controlled substances could have unintended consequences for the EMS community, especially around controlled substances like fentanyl that are frequently used by emergency medicine physicians but are consistently in shortage. NAEMSP has been actively engaged on drug shortages issues in Washington for several years since shortages of essential emergency medications spiked in 2011.
Following meetings with Holland & Knight staff on behalf of NAEMSP, as well as other public health groups engaged on drug shortage issues, the sponsors of S. 2535 inserted important language that would give the Attorney General the authority to specifically consider drug shortages when modifying production quotas so as not to adversely affect providers’ access to these important drugs.
NAEMSP will continue to engage on drug shortage issues with Congress, the Administration, and other public health stakeholders for the benefit of its members.