FDA head: Hurricane Maria set to hit hospitals nationwide, clobber drug supply
BETH MOLE – 10/11/2017, 8:55 AM
After Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico on September 20, the nation’s drug supply and hospitals should brace for their own beating in the next two to three weeks, head of the US Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb warned in an interview with Reuters Tuesday.
With more than four dozen FDA-approved pharmaceutical plants, Puerto Rico manufactures 10 percent of drugs prescribed in the US. The list of drugs made there includes 13 of the world’s top-selling brand-name drugs, such as Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis drug, and Xarelto, a blood thinner for stroke prevention, the New York Times reported. Some of the medicines made there are made nowhere else.
“Some of these products are critical to Americans,” Scott Gottlieb told a congressional panel last week. “A loss of access could have significant public health consequences.”
Weeks after the hurricane hit, the territory is still limping from the devastation. Just 16 percent of electricity service has been restored, for instance. Drug makers are still producing some products, but they face uncertain power supply, difficulty getting materials, and a work force also struggling to recover.
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