Parents are once again scouring stores, and this time it’s not just for baby formula. Pharmacies are out of amoxicillin and in some places even ibuprofen as cases of respiratory syncytial virus surge in children across the country, with COVID-19 and the flu also in the mix for what’s being referred to as a “tripledemic.”
But when White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha was asked about the shortages, all he could do was pivot.
"And what about this shortage of amoxicillin and even ibuprofen in some places?" ABC’s Martha Raddatz asked. "What do [caregivers] do about that?"
“Yeah. This is, you know, we have -- we have broader supply chain issues with our medications that we've had for decades,” he responded. “I have seen this as a practicing clinician. I often when I walk into the hospital find some normal medicine that I'm used to using not available.
“We have got to continue working on that,” he continued. “We've made a lot of strides in this administration, but our work here is not done. So, we have got to continue making sure that these medicines are available."
He then touted the COVID-19 and flu shots.
“I will tell you, the good news is plenty of vaccines for flu and COVID, plenty of treatments for flu and COVID, those are still out there,” he said. “We have plenty of those, but we’ve got to work on the other things.”
"What about this shortage of amoxicillin and even ibuprofen in some places?"— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 28, 2022
ASHISH JHA: "The good news is plenty of vaccines for flu and COVID!"pic.twitter.com/DCXiQRC9x2
The Food and Drug Administration posted a notice on Oct. 28 that liquid amoxicillin is “currently in shortage,” which critics have called “unacceptable.”
This is unacceptable! We have given our adversaries power over our health. We must bring our supply chain back to the United States. https://t.co/iUDaVuWbAa— Patricia Morgan (@repmorgan) November 28, 2022
These vaccines do not guarantee protection from these viruses.— Mallory Hunter (@mal_hunter) November 28, 2022
There is not a single bottle of infant or children’s Motrin or Tylenol at my pharmacy. At one point I’ve moved an antibiotic script to 3 stores looking for stock.
How is this an acceptable answer?? https://t.co/79vqCtX8Gj
Sen. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, is calling on Congress to act.
"American antibiotics used to be made in the U.S. But by 2019, 80% of the medical industry's active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for drugs like amoxicillin came from overseas––and a majority were potentially traceable to China," he wrote in a recent op-ed. "Now, when amoxicillin is needed the most, it's nowhere to be found. It should be clear that offshoring no longer works for the American people. We're long overdue for a change in approach."
Some of his colleagues in the Senate are also demanding Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf address the issue.