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Biden Admin FDA Adds Vital Drug to Shortages List, US Families 'Just Aren't Getting a Break'

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To a Massachusetts mother, the latest shortage hitting Joe Biden’s America triggered an effort that was “beyond hellacious.”

To pharmacist and Republican Rep. Diana Harshbarger of Tennessee, the crisis is a “national security threat.”

And to a Minnesota doctor, the shortage of the form of amoxicillin needed to treat many bacterial infections in children is unprecedented.

For more than a month, the Food and Drug Administration has listed the liquid form of the broad-spectrum antibiotic – the form most often prescribed for young children — in its drug shortage database.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Sandoz, the generics division of the pharmaceutical giant Novartis, all report shortages, according to The Hill.

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“In my 25 years of being a pediatrician, I’ve never seen anything like this,” pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Stacene Maroushek of Hennepin Healthcare in Minnesota said, according to CNN.

“I have seen families who just aren’t getting a break. They have one viral illness after another. And now there’s the secondary effect of ear infections and pneumonia that are prompting amoxicillin shortages,” she said.

Parent Jennifer Cronin of Ashland, Massachusetts, told The Boston Globe she faced a battle to get the drugs to fight an ear infection in her 4-year-old son.

“I got an automated call from CVS saying, ‘we don’t have your medication,’ and I was on hold forever. The next three hours were beyond hellacious,” she said, adding that her doctor wrote another prescription for another medicine.

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“We drove all the way to the CVS, waited in line, got up to the counter, and they said, ‘We don’t have that medication either,’” she said.

The shortage has been denounced by members of the Republican Doctors Caucus, according to Fox News.

Republican Rep. Buddy Carter of Georgia, a pharmacist and GOP Doctors Caucus member, said the shortage “could devastate our health care system and directly harm our nation’s children if it is not urgently addressed,” according to Fox.

The “Biden administration must use all the resources at its disposal to address the amoxicillin shortage,” he said.

Harshbarger said the problem has its roots in China’s dominance of the pharmaceutical field, but blamed American bureaucracy too.

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“In the 1980s, the Chinese Communist Party went all in on pharmaceutical manufacturing, subsidizing the manufacturing costs of standard generic medicine like amoxicillin,” Harshbarger said. “That, along with their unethical, cheap labor practices, allowed them to corner the market.

“Overregulation from the FDA, EPA, and other bureaucrats made an untenable business environment, adding to China’s stranglehold on our supply chain,” she said.

“This is now a national security threat. China does not need to fire a round or drop a bomb,” Harshbarger said. “They could simply cut off our access to medicine, and the consequences would be catastrophic.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said the crisis demonstrates something he has long called for – an increase in American production of the medicines vital to Americans’ health.

“Our reliance on foreign nations for critical goods is dangerous and unsustainable. We need to bring pharmaceutical manufacturing back to America, and every moment that we stand idle puts millions of people in jeopardy,” Rubio wrote in a piece published Monday by Newsweek.

“This fall, the spread of RSV in children and related bacterial infections prompted a run on pharmacies for the antibiotic amoxicillin. Far-flung supply chains, still backed up from the initial shock of COVID-19, have been unable to compensate for the surge in demand. The result is a national shortage of the drug — and widespread anxiety among parents of sick kids. For parents, the supposed efficiency of our global, just-in-time economy is meaningless if their children cannot get a basic medicine that’s been around for 50 years,” he wrote.

He noted that “moving drug production overseas lowered labor costs and increased corporate profits, but I pointed out that it came with a cost. It made us dependent on Communist China, our greatest geopolitical adversary, for essential goods,” noting that 80 percent of the critical ingredients for key medicines are made overseas, mostly from China.

“Now, when amoxicillin is needed the most, it’s nowhere to be found. It should be clear that offshoring no longer works for the American people. We’re long overdue for a change in approach,” he wrote.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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