Parents Worry As Albuterol Shortage Worsens Across US

The United States is facing an increasingly severe shortage of liquid albuterol, a vital generic medication used to treat respiratory issues such as asthma and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first reported the shortage in October after Akorn Pharmaceuticals, a major albuterol supplier, ceased shipping its 20-milliliter (mL) formula. Akorn later closed all three of its US plants due to bankruptcy, exacerbating the shortage.

The reasons for the shortage by the other three albuterol providers – Nephron, Mylan, and Sun – have not been disclosed besides for Nephron citing a “manufacturing issue.” Although Nephron, the only company in the US that manufacture albuterol, has resumed shipping, it remains on backorder.

Liquid albuterol is used in nebulizers for young children unable to use an inhaler, which requires simultaneous activation and inhalation. In the absence of liquid albuterol, hospitals have had to compound the drug or obtain it from third-party compounders. To address the shortage, parents with children reliant on liquid albuterol should consult their pediatrician for appropriate alternatives tailored to their child’s needs and discuss product availability with their community pharmacist.

However, the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) has partnered with STAQ Pharma, which provides compounded pediatric medications, to manufacture albuterol in the dosages required by children’s hospitals. This collaboration offers a potential solution to the liquid albuterol shortage. According to CHA, STAQ is expected to operate at full capacity by May, providing hope for the shortage of liquid albuterol.

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