Expect drug shortages by March if coronavirus continues to ravage China, expert warns

The U.S. will see drug shortages by mid-March if conditions in China don't vastly improve by then, Rosemary Gibson, a senior adviser at the Hastings Center, told NBC affiliate WCNC

Ms. Gibson, author of the book China Rx: Exposing the Risks of America’s Dependence on China for Medicine, told WCNC that because China has already stopped companies that make surgical masks and protective medical gear from exporting those items to other countries, it is likely the country would do the same for drugs if the coronavirus outbreak doesn't taper. 

China produces most of the active pharmaceutical ingredients the U.S. uses to make generic drugs. Generic drugs account for 90 percent of the drugs the U.S. uses, Ms. Gibson said. 

"China makes about 90 percent of the production for the medicines for people who might end up in the hospital for coronavirus," she told WCNC

She added that the U.S. doesn't have the capacity to quickly produce the drugs a hospital would need if a severe coronavirus outbreak happened in the U.S. 

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