Crackdown on Opioid Production Leads to Hospital Shortages, Medical Errors

As the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration demands a sharp cutback in opioid production, many hospitals are reporting a shortage of standard painkillers, sometimes leading to impromptu substitutions and a much greater likelihood of medical errors, as well as postponement of surgeries such as gall bladder removal and hernia repair.

The shortages are “potentially life-threatening,” according to a letter signed by the American Hospital Association and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Even small errors in administering opioids can lead to severe harm or fatalities, doctors note.

The Drug Enforcement Administration called for a 25 percent reduction of all opioid manufacturing in 2017, and an additional 20 percent in 2018. On top of this, the shortage has been worsened by manufacturing issues that have reduced output by multiple pharmaceutical companies.

Rationing by hospitals has begun in California, Chicago, St. Louis and elsewhere.

Source: Kaiser Health news. Click here for more information.