This spring, UF Health rolled out plans to help respond to a national crisis: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has confirmed a shortage of injectable opioid medications. These include critical pain-relief drugs such as fentanyl, hydromorphone and morphine. Providers use these staple medications to treat a variety of patients receiving hospital and outpatient care.
It is important to emphasize that UF Health currently has an ample supply of oral opioid medications and non-opioid medication alternatives.
The injectable opioid shortage is due to manufacturing disruptions, including last year’s hurricane damage to factories and delays as facilities meet new stringent FDA regulations. Another factor is a supplier shortage of parts needed to produce the syringes used to administer these medications.
Health care providers nationwide must carefully manage available supplies and use alternative pain management options to support patients. The shortage is expected to last through mid-2019.
UF Health is proactively managing inventory to preserve limited injectable opioids for our most vulnerable patient populations, recognizing that the timeline for resolution is months out. Rethinking how we purchase, store, prescribe and administer these drugs will capitalize on the innovation and expertise of everyone involved. It will require a philosophical shift from a preference to rely on injectable drugs and take advantage of other options available to keep patients as comfortable as possible.
We’re confident we will weather this crisis and serve our patients and communities who entrust their care to us. Thank you for your attention and support.
For ongoing information about the national injectable opioid shortage, please visit the “Emerging Issues & Response” site on the Bridge (bridge.UFHealth.org/response/ or look under the “News & Events” tab). There, you’ll find a fact sheet, scripts and helpful pain management resources.