Drug Shortage Information

AUSTIN, April 4, 2012 - Recently, a Texas physician related a situation in which doctors had to resort to the use of expired emergency resuscitation drugs. Would the Texas Medical Board consider the use of expired drugs a violation of the standard of care?

The short answer is, if TMB investigates a complaint involving expired drugs, it will consider the drug shortage as well as storage conditions in making a determination.

Texas physicians across all specialties are coping with widespread drug shortages. A shortage of an important leukemia drug is making headlines now. Manufacturing delays, scarcity of raw materials, increased demand contribute to the problem. According to the National Cancer Institute, the trend is expected to worsen.

Most of what is known about drug expiration dates comes from a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration at the request of the military. With a large and expensive stockpile of drugs, the military faced tossing out and replacing its drugs every few years. What they found from the study is many of the drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, were good to use years after the expiration date. But the key was proper storage.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has a useful list: http://www.ashp.org/DrugShortages/Current/

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