Hundreds of U.S. community pharmacies are having trouble stocking antibiotics, common over-the-counter therapies for children and a widely used drug for ADHD as shortages persist.
About 4 out of 5 pharmacies reported problems filling prescriptions for the antibiotic amoxicillin in a National Community Pharmacists Association survey completed by 332 stores at the end of January. Some 93 percent were short of children’s pain and fever medicines, according to the survey, and 97 percent lacked access to adequate supplies of branded or generic Adderall, the treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
All the drugs have been in short supply in the United States or Canada for months for different reasons. Supplies of children’s amoxicillin, as well as kids’ over-the-counter pain and fever medicines, ran low in October as viral illnesses that can lead to bacterial infections spiked earlier than usual. Adderall has been hard to find since August as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the main manufacturer for the United States, lacked workers to produce sufficient supply while demand was soaring.
The Food and Drug Administration is reporting shortages of Adderall and liquid amoxicillin and increased demand for children’s fever drugs. Nearly all European Union states have reported amoxicillin shortages.
Two major manufacturers anticipate that amoxicillin supply will continue to be limited for months. Leslie Pott, a spokesperson for Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit, said the situation is improving but that constraints will continue at least into April. Valerio di Caprio, a global vice president at Netherlands-based Centrient Pharmaceuticals, one of the leading makers of amoxicillin’s active ingredient, said the shortages will continue for the next few months.
Stocks of over-the-counter kids’ medicines are increasing, according to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a U.S. trade group for makers of over-the-counter drugs, but “intermittent out of stocks may still persist in a few areas.” Meanwhile, cases of flu and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV, another common lung infection, continue to abate nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It’s a particularly severe time for drug shortages in the United States, according to the University of Utah’s drug information service, which tracks drug supplies. During the last quarter of 2022, there were shortages of 295 medicines, the most in a quarter since at least 2018.
(c) 2023, Bloomberg · Ike Swetlitz