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ACEP Commends Congress For Passing Legislation That Addresses Drug Shortages As Well As "Bath Salts"

WASHINGTON, July 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) commends the United States Senate on passing legislation (S. 3187) that will create a federal ban on certain synthetic drugs.  The bill now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.


Under this new law, the FDA will also require drug shortages to be reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with at least six months notification.  Specifically, the reporting requirement applies to drugs "intended for use in the prevention or treatment of a debilitating disease or condition, including any such drug used in emergency medical care during surgery."  Dr. David Seaberg, president of ACEP released the following statement:

"This law will give the FDA the much-needed authority to require drug manufacturers to report any discontinuance, interruption or other adjustment that would likely result in a shortage, especially those drugs needed to provide emergency care.  Obtaining this information in a timely manner will allow the FDA to work with other manufacturers to produce the drug or reallocate resources to ensure the right drug is in the right community at the right time.

"Emergency physicians don't have the luxury of advanced planning to secure alternative drugs when severely injured patients arrive in the emergency department and the most effective medication is unavailable.  The best course of action is to ensure that we do not find ourselves in that situation in the first place."

The law will also ban two of the 17 "bath salts" chemicals that are currently, and legally, sold in the United States.  While it's clear that more government intervention is needed — it's a significant step forward to combating this new, growing trend within the war on drugs.  Dr. Seaberg adds that emergency physicians witness firsthand how these dangerous synthetic drugs are harming users.  These products contain chemicals that imitate the hallucinogenic or stimulant properties of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine, which can cause severe paranoia that may cause users to harm themselves or others.

Other provisions of the law include:

  • The GAO will conduct a study to examine the cause of drug shortages and provide recommendations to alleviate such shortages.  Specifically, the GAO must consider what extent health care providers, including hospitals and physicians, are able to adjust care effectively to compensate for the drug shortages and what impediments exist that hinder these efforts.
  • The FDA will prepare a report on current federal initiatives regarding safe use of prescription drugs with the potential for abuse and treatment of prescription drug dependence. 

ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies. 

SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)
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