US has its first coronavirus-related drug shortage

Health

This photo taken on February 24, 2020 shows doctors working as they treat patients infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus at a hospital in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province. – The new coronavirus has peaked in China but could still grow into a pandemic, the World Health Organization warned, as infections mushroom in other countries. (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The United States has its first novel coronavirus-related drug shortage, according to the US Food and Drug Administration. The maker of an unnamed drug that has recently been added to the FDA Drug Shortages list told the agency that the shortage is due to the novel coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the FDA warned that these types of shortages could happen, and said it was monitoring the situation closely. The agency identified 20 drugs that either solely sourced their active pharmaceutical ingredients, or produced finished drug products, from or in China.

The unnamed company that notified the FDA about a shortage said the problem is the result of an issue with the manufacturing of an active pharmaceutical ingredient used in the drug.

The US relies heavily on Chinese-made drug ingredients, medical devices and drugs that are used in humans and animals. As of 2018, China ranked second among countries that exported drugs and biologics to the US, and ranked first for medical devices, according to the FDA.

The agency said Tuesday it has been in touch with 180 manufacturers to remind them that the companies have a regulatory obligation to notify the FDA if they anticipate any disruption to drug supplies. The agency asked companies to evaluate their supply chains in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The agency said it is working with the manufacturer that was recently added to the shortages list to try and mitigate the problem.

“We will do everything possible to mitigate the shortage,” the agency said in a release Thursday.

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