Many Key Pharmaceuticals Could Be Threatened By Supply Chain Backlogs, Warns FDA
A bag of assorted pills and prescription drugs dropped off for disposal is displayed during the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) 20th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day at Watts Healthcare on April 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US has seen an increase in drug overdose deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic, accelerating significantly during the first months of the public health emergency, including deaths from opioids and counterfeit pills containing fentanyl. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that supply chain bottlenecks are threatening the availability of over 100 pharmaceutical products.

According to its website, the agency has “asked manufacturers to evaluate their entire supply chain, including active pharmaceutical ingredients, finished dose forms, and any components that may be impacted in any area of the supply chain due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Fox Business reported that among the 111 items on backorder are “heart medications, antibiotics, and cancer drugs.”

For the past several months, international supply chains have been disrupted by renewed lockdowns in Asian economies and labor shortages in the United States — preventing consumer goods from reaching American shelves. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, American companies have grown increasingly reliant upon pharmaceutical imports from China and India. As of March 2020, 80% of active pharmaceutical ingredients and 90% of generic medicines come from the two nations.

Beyond pharmaceuticals, the supply chain and labor shortage crises are affecting the defense industry.

“When I think about the challenges that we all might face going into next year, the labor shortages that we’re seeing are suddenly one that’s top of mind,” said Northrop Grumman CEO Kathy Warden during a CNBC interview. “We have seen an increase in demand for the kinds of skills that we need to support our work at the same time that we’ve seen labor participation rates go down.”

Dozens of industry groups recently warned that the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine and testing mandate will worsen the supply chain crisis by barring some truck drivers from the job market.

“We estimate companies covered by the mandate could lose 37% of drivers at a time when the nation is already short 80,000 truck drivers,” they explained. “We ask for flexibility for transportation and supply chain essential workers, particularly truck drivers who spend most of their time in their trucks and have minimal contact with colleagues and customers.”

Nevertheless, President Biden told Americans that the supply chain crisis is not as significant as they might think.

“If you’ve watched the news recently, you might think the shelves in all our stores are empty across the country, that parents won’t be able to get presents for their children on holidays — this holiday season. But here’s the deal: For the vast majority of the country, that’s not what’s happening,” Biden claimed. “Because of the actions the administration has taken in partnership with business and labor, retailers and grocery stores, freight movers and railroads, those shelves are going to be stocked.”

“Now, I can’t promise that every person will get every gift they want on time. Only Santa Claus can keep that promise. But there are items every year that sell out, that are hard to find,” Biden said. “Some of you moms and dads may remember Cabbage Patch Kids back in the ‘80s or Beanie Babies in the ‘90s, or other toys that have run out at Christmas time in past years when there was no supply chain problem.”

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