Drug shortage lists are beginning to grow as people stock up on medications during the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in hospitalizations strains the drug supply.

In recent days, hospitals have begun to report shortages of drugs used to place patients on ventilators and treat pneumonia. And on March 31, the FDA added chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (potential treatments for coronavirus) to its shortages list.

Here is the list of drugs used to treat COVID-19 that are experiencing shortages.



COVID-19 Related Drug Shortages:

Drug nameUse
Sodium chloride small volume bagsUsed to prepare many essential IV drugs
Fentanyl citrate injection*Treats severe pain
Norepinephrine bitartrate injectionTreats critically low blood pressure
Albuterol sulfate inhalersTreat or prevent bronchospasm
Heparin injection*Prevents blood clots (for hospitalized patients who are at an increased risk)
Hydroxychloroquine sulfate tablets*Malaria, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus (possible COVID-19 treatment)
Chloroquine phosphate tablets*Malaria (possible COVID-19 treatment)
Dexmedetomidine hydrochloride vials for injection*Maintains sleepiness & comfort while on ventilator
Propofol emulsion injection*Maintains sleepiness & comfort while on ventilator
Vecuronium bromide injectionMaintains muscle relaxation during ventilation
Rocuronium injectionMaintains muscle relaxation during ventilation
Cisatracurium besylate injection*Maintains muscle relaxation during ventilation
Midazolam injection*Maintain sleepiness and comfort while on ventilator
Dopamine hydrochloride injection*Low blood pressure
Fluticasone propionate inhalersLong term management of asthma COPD
Dobutamine injection*Heart failure
Etomidate injectionGeneral anesthesia
Furosemide injection*Fluid retention
Azithromycin injection and tablets*Bacterial infection
Meropenem injectionBacterial infection
Ampicillin sodium and sulbactam sodium injectionBacterial infection
Ceftazidime injectionBacterial infection
Doxycycline hyclate injectionBacterial infection
Ropivacaine Hydrochloride Injection*


Why are these shortages important?

Shortages are a common occurrence. But many drugs that are newly experiencing shortages are necessary for COVID-19 treatment and are likely experiencing higher-than-usual demand due to the pandemic.

While the FDA is closely following the situation, officials are worried that typical measures to combat shortages may not be an option right now. India and China, two of the largest distributors of the active ingredients in medications, are also grappling with the virus and are experiencing slower manufacturing times due to labor shortages.


Photo by Tbel Abuseridze on Unsplash


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