The coronavirus pandemic is causing “unacceptable” shortages of US drug supplies in the United States, according to a report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota.
The report says shortages have limited 29 of 40 drugs critical for treating Covid-19 patients, including propofol, albuterol, midazolam, hydroxychloroquine, fentanyl, azithromycin and morphine, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, while the FDA, which has more stringent criteria for shortages, show 18 of 40 are on the drug shortage list.
Another 67 out of 156 critical acute drugs are in short supply, the report said, including diazepam, phenobarbital, lidocaine and acetaminophen.
“Drug shortages can be a matter of life and death, and some shortages mean that a life-saving drug is not available to U.S. patients at any price,” the authors wrote.
“The urgency with the drug shortage supply issue is related directly to the major increase in COVID-19 cases that we will experience in the coming months,” Michael Osterholm, the director of CIDRAP, said in a news release.
“This, in turn, will dramatically increase the need for specific COVID-19 treatment drugs, while at the same, COVID-19 is having a major impact on two of the three key drug manufacturing areas of the world, India and Italy,” Osterholm added.
The pandemic has “jolted the global pharmaceutical market at all levels and production points” and exacerbated a problem that dates back several decades, researchers said.
Closed factories, shipping delays or shutdowns and trade limitations or export bans have severely impacted the supply side of the chain, the analysis concluded, while the pandemic has caused a dramatic increase in the global demand for Covid-19 therapies.
The report also suggests recommendations for combatting drug shortages, including creating a new federal entity to track, analyze, predict, prevent and mitigate drug