Amoxicillin shortages and 15-hour hospital waiting times for US patients
A few weeks ago, the FDA warned of an amoxicillin shortage that may affect paediatric patients in the US; that shortage has now come to a head amid emergency room waiting times of up to 15 hours in some US hospitals. Many pharmacies across the country are also reportedly struggling to keep up with demand for the drug.
There has been a surge in demand for the common antibiotic amoxicillin, with unseasonably high figures of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as well as seasonal surges of strep throat, ear infections and various other respiratory illnesses. Many factors could be contributing to this higher rate of infections, though specialists suggest it may be partly down to weakened immune systems in children who have spent the majority of their lives in the COVID-19 pandemic.
These so-called ‘pandemic babies’ have been so protected against infection with measures such as lockdowns, social distancing and masks protecting them from COVID-19, however these measures may now have prevented their immune systems from developing as much as other children. The lifting of these measures has now led to increased rates of infections, subsequently causing the amoxicillin shortages and longer hospital waiting times.
Many large pharmacy chains, such as CVS and Walgreens, first assured customers that they would be able to keep up with the supply for amoxicillin, however many patients and their parents are now being informed that they are unable to supply the drug. It is generally the oral solution of the drug, which is usually reserved for treating paediatric patients, that is in short supply.
Sonika Patel, a pharmacist at Lo Cost Pharmacy in Savannah, Georgia has said that amoxicillin has “been on back order since October.” She continued: “That’s when we’ve been having a big uptick in bronchitis and RSV and everything. So the demand for it is so high that people aren’t able to keep up with the supply.” She was expecting supply to return at some point between late November and December.