Drug shortage ‘likely’ as coronavirus pandemic continues
FILE - In this June 15, 2018 photo, pharmaceuticals are seen in North Andover, Mass. (Elise Amendola/AP)
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt practically every aspect of American life, pharmaceutical drugs are staring down another problem in the near-future: supply shortages.
According to a report created by the Department of Homeland Security and distributed to law enforcement and government agencies on Thursday, the U.S. is already seeing shortages of over 200 types of drugs and medical supplies, due to international shutdowns from early on in the pandemic that strained the supply chain. These shortages, officials predict, will only worsen if future outbreaks of the virus force new shutdowns.
“Chinese factories that produce raw ingredients for common antibiotics closed for weeks as of March and India’s lockdown extended until the end of May,” the report said, according to ABC. “France, Germany, and China have also considered re-imposing lockdown measures as COVID-19 cases have begun to re-emerge.”
The supply shortages would have a significant impact on working- and middle-class Americans, many of whom have already been facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. A decrease in the availability of affordable generic medications, specifically, could be yet another public health crisis added on to the dangers of the coronavirus itself.
“As infections and hospitalizations rise, our patients can’t endure shortages from lifesaving medications,” said Dr. Jay Bhatt, former medical chief at the American Hospital Association, to ABC. “We have to apply our lessons from several months ago so we don’t end up in dire straits.”