It begins: FDA announces first drug shortage with more sure to come since most pharmaceuticals are made in China
02/29/2020 / By JD Heyes / Comments
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It begins: FDA announces first drug shortage with more sure to come since most pharmaceuticals are made in China

Despite the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to calm jittery Americans who are increasingly concerned about an outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus at home, things keep happening to undermine the White House’s message.

Like, for instance, an announcement on Friday by the Food and Drug Administration that the country is already short of a drug thanks to the virus.

As The Epoch Times reported, FDA officials including Commissioner Stephen Hahn told various media that they are “closely monitoring” the medical supply chain, but admitted that the spread of the virus well beyond China’s borders, where it originated, is already having a negative impact.

“A manufacturer has alerted us to a shortage of a human drug that was recently added to the drug shortages list,” Hahn said in a statement Thursday night. “The manufacturer just notified us that this shortage is related to a site affected by coronavirus. The shortage is due to an issue with manufacturing of an active pharmaceutical ingredient used in the drug.”

The agency did not say which drug is currently in short supply but since a great many pharmaceuticals and their ingredients are manufactured in China — which itself is suffering from a decline in factory output, thanks to coronavirus — it’s very likely that this won’t be the last medication shortage.

That said, FDA officials did announce that alternative drugs may be available and can take the place of the drug in short supply. Hahn added that the FDA is already working with the drug maker to ramp up production.

“We will do everything possible to mitigate the shortage,” Hahn noted, adding that the virus situation is an “evolving and very dynamic” one.

In addition, as Natural News reported, President Trump is being urged to consider invoking the 1950 “Defense Production Act,” which would give the government the power to regulate private sector production of goods and items needed to prepare for a wider coronavirus outbreak:

As the stock market tanked on new and expanding reports about what appears to be a growing Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in the United States, advisers to President Donald Trump urged him on Thursday to take more drastic measures in order to better prepare the country.

Getting worse before it gets better

The Epoch Times noted that about 180 drug makers have been working with FDA officials since January 24, when it became clear the virus had spread beyond Chinese containment methods, to inform them of their legal obligation to tell the federal government when possible supply disruptions are about to occur.

In addition, the companies have also been requested by the FDA to analyze their entire supply chain, to include pharmaceutical ingredients that are made in China.

“The FDA has identified about 20 other drugs, which solely source their active pharmaceutical ingredients or finished drug products from China,” the FDA said in a statement. “We have been in contact with those firms to assess whether they face any drug shortage risks due to the outbreak.”

The firms, the statement said, have yet to report any shortages by publication time.

In addition, FDA officials have said they are aware of 63 plants representing 72 facilities in mainland China that make “essential medical devices” which are also likely to be more prone to shortages thanks to supply chain disruptions.

Some of those facilities, the agency says, have been affected by mass lockdowns, factory closures, and quarantines in China, all related to the outbreak and all of which have caused “workforce challenges” — government-speak for ‘not enough workers to maintain necessary production levels.’

“Regarding personal protective equipment—surgical gowns, gloves, masks, respirator protective devices, or other medical equipment designed to protect the wearer from injury or the spread of infection or illness—the FDA has heard reports of increased market demand and supply challenges for some of these products,” the agency said in a statement.

Bottom line, say experts: This supply chain issue with drugs and medical devices will probably get much worse before it improves.

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