Drug Shortage Stirs Nationwide Concern

Even though experts assured us we wouldn’t face such problems, the lingering aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a continuous food and medicine shortage in the United States.

A recent CNN report states we are facing the harshest food crisis in recent history. Essential medicines, like antibiotics and penicillin, are forecasted to run out entirely in some regions before 2023 ends, just a handful of months away.

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced that many types of penicillin, treating conditions like strep throat and syphilis, won’t be accessible after this year’s third quarter ending on September 30.

In a recent statement on the Food and Drug Administration’s website, Pfizer mentioned the probable exhaustion of the children’s dose of the syphilis drug, Bicillin L-A, by this June’s end. The company claims it’s focusing on manufacturing larger doses of this medicine. Why? It’s the only one that can cross the placenta to treat the unborn child in expecting mothers with syphilis.

In addition to this, Bicillin C-R, another penicillin from Pfizer that fights various bacterial infections, is expected to be depleted by the third quarter. The shortage of Pfizer’s penicillin has been an ongoing issue since the previous April.

Another type of drug seeing a shortage is chemotherapy, which is vital for cancer treatments. Due to quality control issues in an Indian drug manufacturing facility, these drugs are not as available as they should be in U.S. cancer treatment centers.

Doctors must be frugal with their treatments or seek alternate solutions due to the shortage. This is because commonly used chemo drugs like cisplatin and carboplatin are hard to procure.

Adding to the grim scenario, the cocoa market is under pressure. Global cocoa supplies are tight, and prices have shot up by 44 percent over the past nine months, reaching a seven-year peak.

Both sugar and coffee face similar supply issues. Their prices have skyrocketed, hitting record highs in the past few days. Food banks are also experiencing their most significant food shortage in four decades, according to the CEO of Feeding the Valley Food Bank, Frank Sheppard.

He links this shortage to the pandemic and explains that the generous food supplies provided by the federal and state governments during the pandemic are slowly being replenished. Supply chain issues also mean deliveries take much longer to reach them. The situation has become a perfect storm, coupled with rapid inflation, leading to record-low inventory levels.