Dr. Scott Gottlieb: Hospitals could see drug shortages in 2 to 3 weeks

The U.S. could see several drug shortages within the next two to three weeks due to manufacturing issues in Puerto Rico, according to Scott Gottlieb, MD, head of the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Gottlieb told Reuters Wednesday drug companies are working to resume normal operations at manufacturing sites following Hurricane Maria. The drugmakers are struggling to find a reliable power source for the Puerto Rican sites, as only 16 percent of the island's electricity services have been restored since the hurricane hit nearly three weeks ago.

"A lot of companies say they're online, but they basically have one of five lines running at 20 percent or 80 percent or 50 percent," Dr. Gottlieb told Reuters. "They are not manufacturing at full capacity. They are manufacturing well short of that."

It is unclear when the drugmakers will be able to reach full manufacturing capacity, according to Dr. Gottlieb.

Last week, the FDA head said about 40 drugs and medical devices could experience national shortages due to the manufacturing disruptions. Under the present circumstances, Dr. Gottlieb said hospitals and pharmacies could see shortages for a few drugs within the next two to three weeks.

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