Drug shortages expected to worsen as COVID-19 hospitalizations surge

In the U.S. and Europe, 29 of 40 drugs used to treat COVID-19 are currently in shortage, and shortages are expected to be worse than the spring as the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations surge, according to a report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

"The supply chain has already been stressed over the past few years, but as we go through the fall and into the winter, we’re going to have some real challenges" due to Covid-19, Michael Osterholm, the center's director, told STAT.

Forty-three percent, or 67 out of 156, of acute critical care drugs are in shortage, including antibiotics, blood thinners and sedatives, according to the center. 

Experts predict a fivefold jump in demand for midazolam, a common sedative, and a tenfold increase in the use of cisatracurium, a muscle relaxant, STAT reported. 

They also predict more COVID-19 hot spots to pop up. 

"This time, we may approach a surge not with five or six hot spots, but maybe something like 30 or more hot spots," Stephen Schondelmeyer, another co-principal investigator at the center, told STAT. "If they’re all having a surge at the same time, we don’t have the ability to shift supplies around as we tried to do in the spring."

Read the full report here

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