Hospitals Warn Albuterol Shortage As Supplier Shutdown

Hospitals nationwide are worried that the supply chain issue may worsen the ongoing shortage of popular asthma medication albuterol, according to Blaze Media. The warning comes after one of the U.S.’s major suppliers, Akorn Operating Company LLC, shut down last week.

Since last October, Albuterol has been on the U.S. Food and Drugs Administration’s shortage list. Akorn, a major manufacturer of albuterol, recently shut down production after filing for bankruptcy.

Akorn was the only company to produce specific Albuterol products used for a continuous nebulizer treatment. It’s an essential supply in children’s hospitals and since then, they have been running around for alternatives.

The news of the shutdown is disturbing to doctors, especially those working with patients with respiratory issues like asthma.

A national volunteer medical spokesperson for the American Lung Association and an allergist/immunologist based in Chicago, Dr. Juanita Mora, spoke about the situation.

“This is definitely concerning, especially as we are coming out of the respiratory season where we had a big demand with RSV, Covid-19 and flu, and are now heading into spring allergy season when a lot of kids and adults experience asthma symptoms. This is a life-saving drug and being able to breathe is vital for everyone.”

U.S. hospitals have started preserving doses of albuterol for patients who need it more significantly. They are concerned that a prolonged supply shortage could negatively affect patient health and lives. The Blaze Media reported that the shortages could be remedied later in the year with production contingency plans.

One of the production contingency plans is for hospitals to promote makeshift production. Senior director of pharmacy contracting with Premier Inc Paula Gurz confirmed that hospitals are beginning to attempt local production.

“Members are either forced to compound it themselves to make the product or go to an outside third party source who is compounding the product,” Gurz said.

Akorn’s shutdown leaves Nephron pharmaceuticals as the only existing Albuterol supplier, leaving the latter with a backlog of supplies that could take weeks to sort out. Despite resuming supplies last week, the longstanding order list is far from completely sorted.