The coronavirus pandemic is causing “unacceptable” shortages in US drug supplies, according to a report from the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).
According to the report, 29 out of 40 drugs critical for treating Covid-19 patients are limited, including propofol, albuterol, midazolam, hydroxychloroquine, fentanyl, azithromycin, and morphine, according to the American Society of Health System Pharmacists’ FDA’s stricter criteria for shortages show 18 out of 40 are on the drug shortage list.
Another 67 of 156 critical acute drugs are in short supply, including diazepam, phenobarbital, lidocaine and paracetamol.
“Drug shortages can be a matter of life and death, and some bottlenecks mean that a life-saving drug is not available to US patients at all costs,” the authors wrote.
“The urgency of the drug shortage problem is directly related to the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases that we will see in the coming months,” said Michael Osterholm, director of CIDRAP, in a press release.
“This, in turn, will dramatically increase the need for specific COVID-19 drugs, while COVID-19 has a major impact on two of the top three drug manufacturing areas in the world, India and Italy.” Osterholm added.
The pandemic has “rocked the global pharmaceutical market at all levels and points of production” and exacerbated a problem that goes back several decades, researchers said.
Closed factories, shipping delays or shutdowns, and trade restrictions or export bans have severely affected the supply side of the chain, while the pandemic has dramatically increased global demand for Covid-19 therapies.
The report also suggests recommendations to address drug shortages, including the creation of a new federal agency to track, analyze, predict, prevent and reduce drugs