Airlines exempt from carrying lifesaving drugs due to shortages

Due to chronic drug shortages, some airlines have been granted exemptions that permit passenger planes to fly without having lifesaving drugs on board, according to The New York Times.

Flights are required by the Federal Aviation Administration to carry five lifesaving drugs: two doses of epinephrine, atropine, dextrose and lidocaine. The drugs are considered "no-go items," meaning the flight isn't legally allowed to take off without them.

However, due to chronic drug shortages, the FAA has granted airlines exemptions that allow them to fly without all five drugs if the airline says it doesn't have access to those drugs. The exemptions apply to both domestic and international flights.

In January 2016, more than 50 airlines were granted four-year exemptions from the requirement to carry all five drugs. There is no current data to show how many airlines are flying without a full stock of drugs.

Representatives from some airlines told The New York Times they usually carry a complete supply of the drugs and only ask for exemptions during periods of temporary shortages.

Some people argue that the drugs kept on airplanes aren't often used and exacerbate a nationwide shortage of critical drugs by taking them away from agencies such as hospitals and ambulances that have a greater need for the drugs.

Read the full article here

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