Drug shortage causing delays in administration of life-saving medications

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Every time the team at Station 45 in Collier County gets a call for help, they’ve got to be ready to use life-saving drugs.

“We’re prepared, but that changes from day to day,” said Assistant Chief Jorge Aguilera.

Aguilera says a nationwide drug shortage is making that job more difficult.

“Anything from saltwater solutions to cardiac medicines are coming up short,” Aguilera said. “This has been an ongoing crisis for a couple of years.”

A list of drugs in shortage released by the Food and Drug Administration include some drugs that fight against seizures, high blood pressure and cardiac arrest.

Without them, fire departments have to ration or mix their own doses, which can take away from life-saving seconds in an emergency situation.

Congressman Francis Rooney is also concerned about the situation. That’s why he visited Station 45 Friday to talk about possible solutions.

“We passed a bill the other day to increase the use of generic drugs to increase supply,” Rooney said.

The FDA released the following statement in response:

“FDA takes great efforts…to address and prevent drug shortages, which can occur for many reasons, including manufacturing and quality problems, delays, and discontinuations. The agency works closely with manufacturers of drugs in short supply to communicate the issue and to help restore availability.”

However, it’s an issue Station 45 doesn’t see stopping anytime soon.

“It’s enough talking about it. We need to start developing a fix,” Aguilera said.

Until a solution becomes possible, North Collier Fire says crews are constantly re-trained on new medications and mixing methods to keep civilians alive in an emergency.

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