Hospitals' albuterol supply may dip after drugmaker shuts down

After Gurnee, Ill.-based Akorn Operating Co. closed its operations in late February, hospitals are left with only one domestic supplier of liquid albuterol, an asthma treatment already in shortage. 

Nephron Pharmaceuticals, the last U.S.-based supplier of the drug, has seven albuterol solutions on back order and said it expects supply to return to normal levels in March, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists' drug shortage website

Akorn has not made liquid albuterol for months, but its closure may lengthen the nation's albuterol shortage, according to officials from group purchasing company Premier, The Washington Post reported March 1.

The drugmaker suddenly shut down Feb. 22, laying off hundreds and potentially worsening ongoing drug supply issues. Before filing for bankruptcy, it had a tumultuous history of manufacturing violations — and the same is true for Nephron, according to the FDA.

Some pharmaceutical supply experts said they are worried about the repercussions. 

Angela Folger, PharmD, director of pharmacy for Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando, Fla., told the Post her staff is forced to squeeze out 40 0.5 mL containers to make one batch. The process eats up time, but it is the only way the 130-bed hospital can ensure enough supply. 

Dr. Folger said current drug shortages are "the worst it's ever been in [her] almost 20-year career."

"Drug manufacturing is a business. In one day an entire company is closed with no notice or severance for staff," Erin Fox, PharmD, senior pharmacy director at Salt Lake City-based University of Utah Health, tweeted Feb. 22. "Now we wait for worsened shortages."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars