Florida Consumers Affected By U.S. Drug Shortages

Our Fort Lauderdale injury law firm has been following recent news of drug shortages that may affect Florida consumers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and health care advocacy groups are reporting unprecedented shortages of injectable drugs, according to a recent news article. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) states that the number of drugs in short supply has tripled since 2005. There are over 150 drugs currently listed on the ASHP’s drug shortage bulletin, including morphine (a common painkiller), amikacin (an antibiotic for serious infections), and carmustine (a chemotherapy drug).

Drug shortages have devastating results on patients in need. The Institute for Safe Medicine Practices alleges that the current drug shortage has caused some patients to die because the right drugs were not available. Even when a substitute is available, dosing errors are more common when doctors and pharmacists are less familiar with the replacement drug.

Under current law, drug manufacturers are not required to alert the FDA to potential drug shortages. Right now, the FDA relies on drug industry tipsters and hospitals in order to identify potential drug shortages. However, the Senate is currently working on a bill that would require drug manufacturers to notify the FDA of potential shortages.

A new law on the books requiring drug companies to notify the FDA of known drug shortages would probably be a step in the right direction. The sooner the FDA knows about a shortage, the more quickly it can identify potential replacement drugs or alternate sources of the drug in short supply.

From a lawyer’s standpoint, one has to wonder what effect drug shortages have on incidents of medical malpractice. While it’s more understandable that doctors make mistakes with unknown or new drugs, the courts still hold doctors and pharmacists to a high professional standard. For the purposes of apportioning liability, courts require doctors to live up to accepted standards of practice within the medical community. A deviation from those standards that leads to a preventable injury may result in medical malpractice.

The personal injury attorneys at Anidjar & Levine can help you to evaluate your medical malpractice claim. So, if you’ve been injured by a drug shortage or a dosing error, contact our firm’s Fort Lauderdale offices today at 800-747-3733.