DEA provides update on opioid shortage

Published on April 16, 2018

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released a statement last week on the ongoing opioid shortages affecting both human and veterinary medicine. As the AVMA has previously reported, these shortages are the result of issues at a drug manufacturing plant.

“In order to prevent any pharmaceutical drug shortage that negatively impacts patients, DEA is working closely with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, drug manufacturers, wholesale distributors and hospital associations to ensure that patients have access to necessary hospital-administered pain medications,” according to the DEA statement. “These include certain injectable products that contain morphine, hydromorphone, meperidine, and fentanyl.”

While the DEA has increased opioid quota allotments to drug manufacturers to help alleviate the shortage, the situation is expected to last into 2019, as increased quota allotments alone will not increase manufacturing speed.

AVMA remains in frequent communication with the DEA, the Food and Drug Administration, and other relevant stakeholders to advocate for veterinarians’ needs during this shortage. We encourage veterinarians experiencing shortages to report the information to the FDA, and use professional judgment in treating patients with opioids and available alternatives.

Veterinarians can also visit to learn more about the laws governing veterinary opioids and find resources for use in your practice. These include:

  • A back-office guide to help veterinarians identify potential "vet shoppers" and prevent drug diversion
  • State requirements for veterinary participation in prescription drug monitoring programs
  • Veterinary CE requirements related to opioids and other controlled substances