2018 July 05

No two days are the same for paramedic, Ken Kelley.

The same goes for the medication he uses on patients.

For the past year and a half, some drugs have been hard to come by.

“At first it started out with emergency medications like painkillers and some of those select cardiac medications now it’s extended into drugs that we routinely use in common emergencies,” said Kelley, President, and CEO of ProMed Ambulance.

They are drugs they are required to carry under state standards, including Dextrose for diabetic emergencies, pain management drugs, and saline.

The problem doesn’t necessarily start here. 

“We’ve had several disaster situations with the hurricane in 2017 that struck Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands where a large amount of pharmaceuticals are packaged and produced,” he said.

He says the FDA has put holds on the production of certain medications due to manufacturing concerns.

Hospitals are in the same boat.

The Medical Center of South Arkansas says over-preparing is the name of the game.

“When we see something is going to be short, we would try to get a little bit extra from our wholesaler so we can have a little bit of a pad,” said Alison Burroff, staff pharmacist. ” Beyond that, sometimes you can order direct from the manufacturer.”

“We haven’t run out of anything,” said Burroff.” We haven’t not been able to supply anything, so it’s just mainly a matter of trying to keep on top of things and knowing what your alternatives are and also communicating with physicians.”

ProMed Ambulance is monitoring inventory.

Managers say they make sure crews always have the medications because they never know when the next emergency is going to happen.