No Plan for pandemic – 

April 10, 2020 – While the pandemic is unprecedented, such shortages are not. Health experts say the U.S. government has been slow to strengthen the drug supply chain, despite recent painful reminders of its vulnerabilities.  Production at several major pharmaceutical factories in Puerto Rico was disrupted for months in 2017 after Hurricane Maria tore across the island — leaving hospitals without a reliable supply of saline IV bags and other infused fluids. Less than a year later, manufacturing problems at several other U.S. plants caused nationwide shortages of opioids used in surgeries and end-of-life care.  More than 450,000 people in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus so far, and hot spots are emerging in places like Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C.  “This is a huge surge of patients all at once. What we need manufacturers to do is to really ramp up supply — but we don’t know if it will be enough in time,” said drug shortage expert Erin Fox, pharmacy director for the University of Utah. “I guess that’s one more reason to try and flatten the curve, to give drug companies more time to make all the medicines we need.”


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