Pharmacists generally agree that domestic production of the commonly used antibiotic could prevent more shortages from happening in the future
A survey conducted in February 20231 by Jackson Pharmacy Professionals showed that the nationwide amoxicillin shortage—which was brought to the public’s attention in November of 2022—is ongoing, as 73% of the survey’s participants reported a shortage of the antibiotic in their workplace over the last 45 days.2
A total of 522 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians from 39 states responded to the survey, with 45% of responders located in the South, 20% in the Midwest, 12% in the North, 10% in the West. The location of the other 13% was not identified.
Although no region of the country is exempt from the shortage, pharmacists and technicians in rural areas were more likely to report a shortage (87%) than those located in urban or suburban areas (70% and 68%, respectively.) Health care disparities between urban and rural areas have been well documented through the years, and individuals in rural communities often receive less quality care than individuals in larger cities.
One common thread was identified across responses from pharmacists: 9 in 10 survey respondents believe the government should place a greater emphasis on manufacturing and distributing amoxicillin here in the United States, as opposed to procuring it from abroad. “This country really needs to put more attention on securing healthcare needs for our citizens,” one pharmacist said. “Without the ability to acquire even the most basic of medications, how can patients have security in knowing we can help them with more complicated issues?”1
Full domestic production of amoxicillin would cost anywhere from 5% to 10% more than acquiring it from overseas, but more than 90% and 70% of pharmacists somewhat or strongly agree agree that a slight hike in price is well worth paying for such an essential medication—especially in a country that already spends over 4 trillion dollars on health care each year. “I find it appalling [that] we as a first world country choose to outsource medications that are necessities to control, sustain and treat American lives,” responded another pharmacist.1
More than 90% of respondents also at least somewhat agreed with the prompt, “The federal government should secure the supply chain, making it a priority to produce and manufacture amoxicillin in the United States.”
The shortage of amoxicillin is not an isolated incident: Physicians were forced to resort to alternative methods when attempting to replicate the effects of amoxicillin, which in turn led to shortages of other medications. “Our citizens are suffering,” said one survey respondent. “Amoxicillin plays a vital role in health care for it’s the most commonly used antibiotic. Due to this antibiotic shortage, it has created a chain reaction leading us to shortages on all antibiotics.”1
Patient needs are paramount for all pharmacists; when the US health care system breaks down and pharmacists can no longer provide adequate care, frustration builds from both sides. “It feels embarrassing when pharmacists can't provide basic medications. Patients became easily upset and frustrated,” another pharmacist said.1
“We must secure our supply of this critical medication and manufacture it here at home,” said Bobbi Henson, president of Jackson Pharmacy Professionals, in a news release.2
1. References Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on the continuing amoxicillin shortage. Jackson Pharmacy Professionals. Published February 9, 2023. Accessed February 24, 2023. https://jacksonpharmacy.com/downloads/pdfs/Pharmacists_and_Pharmacy_Technicians_on_the_Continuing_Amoxicillin_Shortage_Survey_Results.pdf
2. New survey reveals 73% of pharmacists say amoxicillin shortage continues. News Release. Jackson Pharmacy Professionals. February 15, 2023. Accessed February 20, 2023. https://jacksonpharmacy.com/about-jackson-pharmacy/press/