September 26, 2017

FDA warns ‘critical’ drug shortages possible after Hurricane Maria battered Puerto Rico

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning of possible “critical shortages” of key pharmaceuticals after Hurricane Maria brought Puerto Rico’s drug manufacturing industry to a standstill.

The FDA said late Monday that it is taking active measures to help redirect production and preserve existing treatments to avoid a ballooning health crisis from Maria’s destruction.

The agency did not identify any specific medications that could be at risk of a shortfall, and a spokesperson was not immediately available to provide details Tuesday morning.

But there are “several” cases where “we may soon face critical shortages if we don’t find a path for removal or ways to get production back up and running,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

USA TODAY reported Friday that Hurricane Maria had put the drug industry at serious risk of shortages.

The catastrophic storm wiped out electricity for the entire island, devastated telecommunications and made travel nearly impossible for many employees of the island’s nearly 50 pharmaceutical factories.