Using Single-Dose Vials on Multiple Patients Not a Solution to Drug Shortages, CDC Affirms

May 2, 2012 | Strategic Insights for Health System


To address concerns that restricting single-dose/single-use medication vials to only one patient is contributing to drug shortages and increasing medical costs to healthcare providers, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an April 27, 2012, position statement, which reaffirms the agency’s stance that medication vials labeled by the manufacturer as “single dose” or “single use” should only be used for a single patient. In the position statement, CDC recognizes the problem of drug shortages but explains that such shortages are a result of manufacturing, shipping, and other issues. The agency routinely investigates and is apprised of infectious disease outbreaks involving single-dose/single-use vials being used for multiple patients. Because these outbreaks can cause extensive harm to patients and are associated with significant healthcare and legal expenses, CDC continues to strongly support its current policies regarding single-dose/single-use vials.

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