Expired Drugs on Ga. Rescue Rigs



CBS Atlanta News has tough questions for DeKalb County after expired drugs used to save lives were found on emergency vehicles.

CBS Atlanta News has discovered DeKalb County rescue trucks carried expired drugs on board. Documents obtained by CBS Atlanta show they were common drugs paramedics use to treat life-threatening allergies like an EpiPin and nitro spray or calcium chloride to jump-start a heart.

“What these drugs will do, buy you time before you get into the hospital,” said Dr. Gaylor Lopez, Director of Georgia Poison Control.

State Inspection documents show on a recent inspection, they found a truck with 9 expired drugs, and another with 2. DeKalb County employees are supposed to check the expiration date on the first of every month, and again every day before heading out on a call.

“You have to ask the clinician, why aren't these routinely checked? This is pharmacy 101 and this is a very basic principle, check expired medications, it's not a hard thing to do,” said Lopez.

Lopez said an expired EpiPin is a real concern for him.

“This is a critical drug, epinephrine is a lifesaving drug, you want to make sure a drug like that definitely is not expired,” said Lopez.

While Lopez said not all drugs go bad after the expiration date, it's not something he'd want left to chance.

“This is one of those things that if you make a mistake, it could cost someone their life,” said Lopez.

CBS Atlanta News has requested an on-camera interview with DeKalb County officials to find out how this happened. Over the phone, they said corrective action will be taken against the employees who are responsible for the expired supplies.


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