Drug Shortages Update

Drug Shortages Update: December 2021

Drug shortages currently stand at over 100 different medications with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) noting 111 products as being unavailable.

Some of these shortages are short term or limited availability, while others are completely unavailable with unknown release dates. What medications are unavailable and what can you do to minimize the impacts on your practice and patients?

The drug shortage problem is not new, nor is it a transitory issue. This week we are once again providing an update on the most recent drug shortages and giving you some steps to take to minimize the disruptions caused by them. Admittedly, there is no silver bullet for resolving medication shortages and each one requires individual attention.

Common ASC medications in short supply:

  • Atropine Sulfate Injection
  • Bacteriostatic Water for Injection
  • Bupivacaine Hydrochloride and Epinephrine Injection
  • Bupivacaine Hydrochloride Injection
  • Cefazolin Injection
  • Cyclopentolate Ophthalmic Solution
  • Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate Injection
  • Dexmedetomidine Injection
  • Diltiazem Hydrochloride Injection
  • Dobutamine Hydrochloride Injection
  • Dopamine Hydrochloride Injection
  • Epinephrine Injection, 0.1 mg/mL
  • Epinephrine Injection, Auto-Injector
  • Fentanyl Citrate Injection
  • Furosemide Injection
  • Gentamicin Sulfate Injection
  • Heparin Sodium and Sodium Chloride 0.9% Injection
  • Ketamine Injection
  • Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection
  • Lidocaine Hydrochloride (Xylocaine) Injection
  • Lidocaine Hydrochloride (Xylocaine) Injection with Epinephrine
  • Lipid Injection
  • Mannitol Injection
  • Mepivacaine Hydrochloride Injection
  • Midazolam Injection
  • Morphine Sulfate Injection
  • Ondansetron Hydrochloride Injection
  • Propofol Injectable Emulsion
  • Ropivacaine Hydrochloride Injection
  • Sodium Bicarbonate Injection
  • Sodium Chloride Injection USP, 0.9% Vials and Syringes
  • Sterile Water for Injection
  • Triamcinolone Acetonide Injectable Suspension
  • Triamcinolone Hexacetonide Injectable suspension
  • Vecuronium Bromide for Injection

Steps you can take:

The solution to each shortage is going to differ by the medication involved and the available alternatives. In a previous post titled “Ten Steps to Dealing with Drug Shortages”, I discussed ways to deal with shortages. Some of the common steps you can take include:

  1. Considering formulary alternatives
  2. Try ordering medications from more than one source
  3. Order as early as possible
  4. Try different options, such a smaller or larger vials
  5. Borrow from another facility (this is risky and requires checking state laws)

Something you can do to immediately to minimize the impact going forward, is to closely monitor your inventory and make sure you always have enough on hand to withstand a temporary shortage. Don’t run your par levels so low that a temporary shortage causes complete panic. Do some advance planning.

Finally, “expired” meditations may be a potential solution. The FDA continuously updates their list of medications that have extended expiration dates. If you have one of these medications on hand, you will be able to extend the date and keep it longer. Check with your pharmacy consultant on how to extend the date. Also, make sure you are labeling “expired” medication appropriately and documenting all attempts to obtain in-date medications. Having expired medications on hand with no process or documentation is a sure way to earn a survey deficiency.

If you are currently struggling with a particular shortage, work with your pharmacy consultant to come up with creative ways to work around it. This requires planning and expertise. Some solutions may seem obvious and easy, but they could be dangerous to patient safety and often not compliant with licensing or accreditation standards. If you have questions about a current shortage, or how to set up a compliant system, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.


The Consultant Pharmacists at OctariusRx provide guidance on safe medication management, survey readiness and cost savings to ambulatory healthcare facilities/surgery centerssenior care facilities and pharmacies. We also help individual patients optimize their medications to improve their quality of life and save money. Contact us for assistance.


Any health, medical or drug information on the Web Site is for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to be used, and you should not use it, as a substitute for obtaining professional healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor, a pharmacist or other qualified healthcare provider for professional healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment for any medical condition.