Special Report

30 Drugs in Short Supply in the US Right Now

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has revealed the vulnerability of the supply chain of drugs that originate in China, which is the main supply source of raw ingredients for penicillin, ibuprofen, and aspirin.

However, drugs are frequently announced to be in short supply. In fact, the FDA has a running list of drug shortages due to anything from increasing demand to regulatory factors as well as supply disruptions.

24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of drugs in short supply from information provided by the Food and Drug Administration.

Click here to see FDA announces shortage of 30 drugs.

Drug shortages occur for a variety of reasons and this has been an ongoing problem the FDA and legislators have been trying to address. These include manufacturing and quality issues, delays involving logistics along the supply chain, and the lack of incentives for manufacturers to supply drugs they consider to be not as profitable as they had hoped. These are the world’s 15 top selling drugs.

To address these problems, the FDA in 2019 issued a report “Drug Shortages: Root Causes and Potential Solutions.” The agency recommended that manufacturers are made to understand the impact that drug shortages have on patients. The agency suggested creating a rating system intended to give drug makers incentives to invest in the best management of their operations. The FDA is also advocating for better and more transparent contracts with purchasers and other private-sector organizations to maintain a dependable flow of treatments.

A reliable flow of drugs is crucial to patient care. According to the FDA report, 56% of hospitals reported that drug shortages had changed patient care or postponed therapy. From 2009 to 2019, nine of the 11 drugs used to treat T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) experienced shortages at some point over that period. ALL is the most common childhood cancer.


24/7 Tempo reviewed data on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website to find the drugs that are currently in short supply. We also reviewed the report from the FDA “Drug Shortages: Root Causes and Potential Solutions” that was published in 2019. We reviewed information from websites such as webmd.com, rxlist.com, mayoclinic.org, and drugs.com to find out what the drugs are used for and how they are administered.

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