Albuterol shortage hits hospitals after manufacturer closes

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Hospitals and health systems are dealing with a shortage of the inhalation drug albuterol after one of the last manufacturers producing the drug shuttered operations.

Why it matters: Liquid albuterol is a mainstay for treating asthma in kids and was in heavy use for RSV and COVID-19. Health systems have scrambled to get more supplies and figured out workarounds after drugmaker Akorn ceased operations in late February, the Washington Post reported.

Where things stand: Albuterol has been on the national medication shortage list for months, and without action by the Food and Drug Administration, a quick replacement is unlikely to materialize in the near future.

  • The FDA is reviewing how Akorn's closure will impact the nationwide supply of all the pharmaceuticals they were producing.

The details: Supply chain issues have dogged health care systems throughout the pandemic, including for some of the most commonly used medications.

  • The FDA could clarify if a new supplier could purchase the technology from Akorn or needs to submit an abbreviated new drug application — a process that could take months.

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