Children who fall ill during the upcoming fall and winter seasons may face limited treatment options due to a shortage of amoxicillin. Reports indicate that this shortage is occurring for the second year in a row.
The shortage of amoxicillin began in October 2022, according to Forbes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortage database currently shows no signs of when the liquid form of the medication will be readily available in the necessary quantities. While amoxicillin pills or capsules are still accessible, young children who cannot swallow them require the liquid version of the medication to treat conditions like strep throat, chest infections, sinus infections, and earaches.
Amoxicillin is also commonly prescribed for bacterial infections such as pneumonia and dental abscesses. Several manufacturers of the powder used to make the liquid form have not disclosed the exact cause of the supply issue. However, they have set limits on how much can be ordered, prioritizing allocation to meet demand.
Teva Pharmaceuticals noted that the supply issue was due to increased demand rather than manufacturing or material shortages. Meanwhile, Sandoz mentioned that the low retail price of approximately $10 per bottle has forced some drug companies out of the market.
When the necessary medication is unavailable at their regular pharmacy, patients may need to search for alternative locations or have their child’s prescription switched to another antibiotic. However, substitutions can lead to stronger side effects and, if the need for substitutions increases, those backup treatments may also face shortages.
Dr. Rohan Khazanchi, a pediatrician and medical resident at Brigham & Woman’s Hospital, expressed concerns about the broader impact of this issue. He stressed the need for essential and widely available generic medications to combat drug shortages.
In 2021, amoxicillin was prescribed 42.9 million times out of the 211.1 million antibiotic prescriptions overall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While efforts are being made to address the supply issue and ensure the availability of amoxicillin for children, parents and healthcare providers may need to consider alternative treatment options and collaborate closely to ensure children receive proper care.
Sources: Forbes, CNN