First drug shortage reported from coronavirus

A shortage of a human drug was reported by the FDA as a result of the coronavirus. The agency has been closely monitoring the supply chain in anticipation that the virus, dubbed COVID-19, would lead to potential drug shortages.

The agency did not release which drug was in shortage or which manufacturer reported the issue.

The shortage is related “to a site affected by coronavirus,” reads a statement from FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD. “The shortage is due to an issue with manufacturing of an active pharmaceutical ingredient used in the drug.”

The virus, which has infected close to 90,000 people worldwide, originated in Wuhan, China, but has since spread to 60 locations, according to the CDC. Forty-three total cases in the U.S. have been identified, leading to 2 deaths, the CDC reported March 2.

Over the last few weeks, the FDA has touched base with 180 drug manufacturers to remind them to notify the FDA of supply chain issues and evaluate their supply chain, particularly for ingredients and components manufactured in China. Twenty other drug identified by the FDA rely solely on ingredients or finished drug products from China. So far, none of these non-critical drugs are at risk of a shortage.

The FDA stated that the one human drug with a shortage does have alternatives. Several facilities that produce essential medical devices in China are adversely impacted by COVID-19, the FDA noted, and these products may be prone to potential shortage. However, there are no reported medical device shortages in the U.S. market yet.