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Parents Frustrated by Shortage of Antibiotic Used to Treat Children’s Infections

Pharmacies across the U.S. are facing a shortage of the amoxicillin drug, which is commonly prescribed to treat various childhood infections such as ear infections, strep throat, and pneumonia. This supply constraint is particularly concerning as children return to school and infections become more prevalent. CVS Health, a pharmacy chain, has confirmed that its stores are grappling with a nationwide shortage of some forms of amoxicillin. A spokesperson for CVS stated that they are working with manufacturers to replenish the supply as quickly as possible.

When a particular location runs out of stock, CVS pharmacy teams are assisting patients in finding amoxicillin at nearby locations. They are also collaborating with prescribers to identify suitable alternative drugs for patients. Walgreens has not yet commented on the drug shortage.

The shortage comes at a time when many children in the U.S. are going back to school, increasing the risk of infection. In Kentucky, two school districts were closed due to a surge in sicknesses within their communities. Magoffin County schools announced closures due to widespread illness, while Lee County schools canceled classes after numerous students and staff contracted illnesses such as COVID-19, strep throat, flu, and other ailments.

Last fall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acknowledged the shortage and added amoxicillin products to its list of drugs in short supply. The FDA attributed the shortage to an increase in demand for the drug. A congressional report on drug shortages in the U.S. highlighted manufacturing issues, supply chain disruptions, high consumer demand, and overprescription by doctors as factors contributing to drug shortages.

Liquid forms of amoxicillin suitable for young children are particularly scarce, according to the FDA’s list. These forms are manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals and other drug companies. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has compiled a list of alternative antibiotic options for common pediatric conditions. If available, the AAP recommends using other forms of amoxicillin, such as tablets, capsules, or chewable tablets. Health systems, including hospitals, are also experiencing shortages of liquid forms of amoxicillin.

Mittal Sutaria, Senior Vice President of Pharmacy Contract and Program Services at Vizient, a company that negotiates drug contracts for a significant portion of the nation’s health systems, stated that the demand for amoxicillin is already rising as the fall and winter seasons approach. Sutaria mentioned that anticipatory purchasing can lead to supply challenges.

Aside from amoxicillin, other drugs, including children’s Tylenol and cancer medications, have recently experienced shortages in the U.S.

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