United States Likely To See Shortage Of Pharmaceutical Drugs If Coronavirus Outbreak Continues, Intelligence Report Says

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A cut in generic drugs would hurt low-income and unemployed Americans.

With coronavirus With epidemics continuing to spread across the world, the United States is “likely” to experience a shortage of generic drugs, according to a new federal intelligence report obtained by ABC News.

The report, prepared by the Department of Homeland Security and distributed Thursday to law enforcement and government agencies across the country, warned that the United States was already experiencing shortages of more than 200 drugs and medical supplies due to the tensions on the supply chain caused by international shutdowns. from the start of the pandemic.

These shortages would only worsen if uncontrolled epidemics force a new round of widespread shutdowns, analysts concluded, further straining the system in a way that many US-based drug companies would be “unable to compensate for. quickly”.

“Chinese factories that produce raw ingredients for common antibiotics have closed for weeks from March and India’s lockdown has been extended until the end of May,” the report said, citing news reports. “France, Germany and China have also considered reimposing lockdown measures as cases of COVID-19 have started to reappear. “

On Friday, Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease official, made what he called a “plea” to understand that the epidemics, which mainly occur in the south and west, could potentially take hold. spread to the whole country.

“If we don’t stop the epidemic, sooner or later even those who are doing well will be vulnerable to the spread,” Fauci said. “So we have to take that into account because we’re all in the same boat, and the only way to end it is to end it together.”

Vice President Mike Pence, however, said the country had made “truly remarkable progress” moving forward and praised “the 50 states in this country are opening up safely and responsibly” before to recognize certain increases.

Dr Jay Bhatt, former medical chief of the American Hospital Association, called the report “extremely concerning” – especially in the midst of a pandemic.

“Access to affordable generic drugs for vulnerable populations can make the difference between a good and a bad outcome,” said Bhatt, an ABC News contributor. “As infections and hospitalizations increase, our patients cannot endure shortages of life-saving drugs. We must apply our lessons from several months ago so that we do not find ourselves in a desperate situation. “

The report further warned that drug shortages would disproportionately affect low-income Americans.

A decrease in generic pharmaceuticals, which are significantly cheaper than their branded counterparts, “would put the health of low-income and unemployed Americans the most at risk”, who have already been hit hard by the economic hardships of the pandemic, according to the report .

“People who cannot afford generic drugs are unlikely to switch to branded prescriptions because they can cost up to 95% more,” the report said, citing data from a US research-based pharmaceutical company. and a study by the Food and Drug Administration.

“I worry about underserved communities and safety net hospitals without significant resources in urban and rural communities as well,” Bhatt said. “I hope that hospitals and states that aren’t facing shortages can share with those who need to meet the needs.”


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