Drug shortage Alert: Millions of patients affected as FDA reports shortfalls of essential drugs

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Millions of U.S. patients are facing medication shortages, according to recent FDA data. The Adderall drug shortage in particular has received significant attention in recent months. Other notable drugs currently facing shortages include the bronchodilator Albuterol and the popular antibiotics amoxicillin and azithromycin.

The pandemic and supply chain challenges are partly to blame for the drug shortages. In recent years, manufacturing output for some drugs sank as a result of factors such as pandemic-induced restrictions and worker shortages. The pandemic also contributed to supply chain disruptions. For instance, China and India, both major suppliers of active pharmaceutical ingredients and other materials. As a result, the pharma industry has been forced to find new ways to ensure a steady supply of raw materials and ingredients.

To illustrate the imp…

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Drug prescription volume growth climbed to 21% in late May

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As the U.S. economy continues to stabilize in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, prescription volumes continue to rebound as well. The overall market growth for prescription drugs from May 21–28 hit 21% year over year, according to IQVIA data. The growth rate in the prior two weeks was 13%.

New prescription growth from May 21 to 28 increased 34% year over year while retail growth hit 23%. In general, pharmacy chains have seen a rapid upward trend in sales since December 2020, with growth stabilizing in May 2021.

While mail-order prescriptions have expanded during the pandemic, total mail-order prescriptions accounted for only 5.2% of the total prescription drug market in late May.

All of the 42 therapeutic areas that Truist Securities tracks grew from May 21 to 28.

A recently released analyst report from UBS’s Kevin Caliendo, however, noted tha…

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Unclear path for drug-pricing reform after Dem sweep 

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With Democrats having gained control of the Senate and the presidency, some form of drug-pricing reform is likely. But with the raging COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing threats to the Affordable Care Act, Democrats are more likely to focus on those issues in the near term, according to Barrett Thornhill, a partner at the public affairs firm Forbes Tate in a call with UBS analysts.

The political dynamics of the House is one challenge. Even though Democrats have narrow control of the House, they also have an increasingly vocal progressive wing. For that reason, bipartisan healthcare policy from the Senate could “actually have some trouble when it goes to the House because it’s not left enough,” Thornhill said.

COVID-19 itself has stymied prior legislative attempts at drug-pricing reform, while President Trump’s executive orders face ongoing legal challenges.


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