Boston hospitals face opioid shortage: 3 things to know

Tufts Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital — all in Boston — are running low on injectable forms of fentanyl, morphine and hydromorphine, according to a report from the Boston Herald.

Here are three things to know.

1. The shortage, affecting hospitals nationwide, is related to tighter regulations applied by the Drug Enforcement Administration to address the country's opioid overdose and addiction crisis. These regulations are inhibiting drugmakers' ability to meet long-term demand.

"We're at a critical point across the country with this," Christopher Fortier, PharmD, chief pharmacy officer at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the Herald. "The issue right now is what we call the aggregate production quota. The DEA has not allowed them to increase their production of these products."

2. Various healthcare groups, including the American Hospital Association, sent a letter to the DEA in February, requesting the agency loosen manufacturing regulations to eliminate the problem.

3. Pfizer said it will have more opioid products available in April, but Dr. Fortier expressed skepticism regarding this timeline.

"We're not at the middle part of March yet, and my concern has always been I've never seen a manufacturer hit a time frame," Dr. Fortier told the Herald. "I think we're going to be in this for a little bit more here."

To read the Boston Herald's full report, click here.

More articles on opioids: 
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NQF issues guide for safe opioid prescribing: 3 things to know

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