The Nation’s Drug Shortages—Blamed On Ongoing Pandemic

When the coronavirus was officially designated as a pandemic, and the nationwide shutdown and stay at home orders were announced, various items suddenly became limited in quantity—such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Now, as we end a year that saw us under the thumb of the virus for ten long months, and counting, some of the more common prescription medications that we usually take for granted are on the brink of facing shortages as well—all because of COVID-19.

Those prescription drugs and medications that are already seeing a shortage are auto injecting epinephrine, the oral albuterol inhaler, those antibiotics such as azithromycin and doxycycline, and the diuretic pill chlorothiazide.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently added that the anti-depressant, anti-anxiety medication sertraline hydrochloride—more commonly known as Zoloft—has been in short supply for several months already.

Many Americans wonder what exactly is going on. In the case of the Zoloft shortage, the FDA stated that the issue is “due to the impacts caused by COVID-19.” As for the scarcity of albuterol and azithromycin, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists website states that the issue is due to increased demand for the medications, which again is likely “due to COVID-19.”

Experts are saying that this may be the tip of the iceberg, as issues with shortages of medication may soon become tied to the ongoing pandemic as well. An article that appeared in Yahoo Life stated that the most common blame for drug shortages now are:

    A shortage of the pharmaceutical active ingredientDelays in obtaining the active ingredient.Closures and delays at the manufacturing plants and facility that produce the active ingredient.

Experts also say that the shortages could also have a bearing on the overall increased demand for the medications as well.

Having been experiencing a shortage extending back to 2018, EpiPen states its issues are with its manufacturer, Pfizer company, which “continues to experience manufacturing challenges.” The shortage has become so severe in nature that the expiration dates attached to some of their products have been extended, with FDA approval.

Many experts state that medication shortages are not all that uncommon during an ongoing pandemic, such as COVID-19. If you find that your medication falls on the shortage list, make sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about other options.

Will the current medication shortages continue, or will the manufacturers get back on track?