DEA eases production limits for some narcotics amid shortage during pandemic

Maia Anderson - Print  | 

The Drug Enforcement Administration has increased production limits for some controlled substances that have seen demand spike due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Regina Leader-Post reported.  

The agency said April 7 it will increase limits on certain controlled substances by 15 percent, including fentanyl, morphine and hydromorphone, as well as some cough or cold medicine ingredients, including codeine, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. 

Physicians have been running out of narcotics to treat COVID-19 patients and asked the government to raise production limits, which had been tightened to address the opioid crisis, according to the Regina Leader-Post

The DEA will also increase imports of drugs needed to treat patients on ventilators, which have been facing shortages, such as painkillers, sedatives and an epilepsy drug, phenobarbital. 

The DEA said it will also increase production limits on methadone, an addiction treatment, to make sure physicians are equipped to treat patients with opioid addictions. 

The agency will reevaluate demand after the COVID-19 pandemic and readjust production limits, the Regina Leader-Post reported. 

The American Medical Association applauded the DEA's decision, saying the production limits had threatened to create unnecessary scarcity in the middle of the pandemic. 

"The AMA and other organizations requested that the DEA increase the limits, and the agency did so today. Such a quick response is precisely what is needed to fight this disease. Obstacles need to be removed in real time so physicians can continue their work," the AMA wrote.

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