US drugmaker closes shop: 'Now we wait for worsened shortages'

A Gurnee, Ill.-based drugmaker is shuttering all U.S. operations, the company told its hundreds of employees during a Feb. 22 Zoom meeting. 

Outcry ensued, according to the Herald & Review

Akorn Operating Company attempted to sell itself in 2022, but after "running at a loss for some time," the specialty drug company filed for bankruptcy, closed all its sites and laid off all its employees on Feb. 23, the company's president and CEO wrote in a letter to employees obtained by the Herald & Review

Its Decatur, Ill., location employed about 400 people, and in a video to those workers, the company's president and CEO Douglas Boothe said Akorn will not be able to provide severance pay, according to the news outlet. 

Decatur's mayor told the Herald & Review she is furious about the news. Others said they expect the decision to affect the nation's drug supply, which already has dozens of drugs in shortage. 

"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. "Now we wait for worsened shortages."

Michael Ganio, PharmD, senior director of pharmacy practice and quality at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, said on Twitter Akorn's sudden closure "will likely exacerbate some existing shortages and could leave some single-source products completely unavailable."

In the letter, Mr. Boothe said, "This is a shock," and he "regret[s] that these actions have become necessary."

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