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The FAA: Your Next Flight Will Be BYO Lifesaving Medication

The FAA: Your Next Flight Will Be BYO Lifesaving Medication
Jackie Reddy

A chronic shortage of specific drugs meant that, back in January of 2016, around 50 U.S.-based airlines were exempted from FAA regulations which normally require them to fly with five vital medicines in the cabin. The medicines include two doses of epinephrine, atropine, and dextrose plus lidocaine.

Chronic drug shortages mean that over 50 U.S.-based carriers have been exempted from regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) which normally require them to fly with five vital medicines on-board, reports The New York Times.

The exemption was applied back in 2016 and means that planes can fly without the following medicines: two doses of epinephrine, one dose of which is used in cases of severe allergic reactions and a second which is used during heart attacks. Additional exemptions apply to atropine, which is used in the case of those suffering slow heart rate and dextrose, which is used to increase low blood sugar in diabetics. Lidocaine, which is used to treat an irregular heart, is also included in the exemption as set by the FAA.

The outlet reports that it is not known how many planes are operating without a stock of these medicines and that the exemptions apply to both domestic and international services.

The outlet points out that—for some medical professionals—the shortage of epinephrine is especially concerning. Dr. Todd A. Mahr, president of American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, states that, even in a time of shortage, it’s still possible to source supplies of this drug. “Anaphylaxis kills people,” he added.

While the government is attempting to address the problem, the FAA is trying to raise awareness among passengers.

Offering their comments on the situation to the outlet, a spokesperson for JetBlue said, “While we work to include all medications in every kit, sometimes they are not available to us and so we always recommend our customers bring any medication they may need with them onboard.”

Brian Parrish, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, said that the carrier “does not currently utilize any exemption for our emergency medical kits.”

Commenting on behalf of American Airlines, spokesperson Ross Feinstein said, “We are in compliance with F.A.A. regulations, but have exemptions when we are unable to obtain these drugs due to market availability.”

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1 Comment

  1. 1readyset2go

    October 7, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    two doses of epinephrine, one dose of which is used in cases of severe allergic reactions and a second which is used during heart attacks

    Although rare some people can need 3 doses of epi for severe allergic reaction. I personally was given 3 doses in a ER once and another time it took 2 doses.

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