With coronavirus outbreaks continuing to spread across the world, the United States is “likely” to see a shortage of generic pharmaceutical drugs, according to a new federal intelligence report obtained by ABC News.
The report, prepared by the Department of Homeland Security and distributed Thursday to law enforcement and government agencies around the country, warned that the U.S. is already seeing shortages of more than 200 drugs and medical supplies due to strains on the supply chain caused by international shutdowns early on in the pandemic.
Those shortages would only be made worse should unchecked outbreaks force yet another round of widespread shutdowns, the analysts concluded, further straining the system in a way that many U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies would be “unable to quickly offset.”
“Chinese factories that produce raw ingredients for common antibiotics closed for weeks as of March and India’s lockdown extended until the end of May,” the report said, citing news reports. “France, Germany, and China have also considered re-imposing lockdown measures as COVID-19 cases have begun to re-emerge.”
The warning comes as officials in some states have already halted some reopening plans or closed back down as coronavirus cases rise in at least 29 states, according to an ABC News analysis. Florida reported just under 9,000 new cases on Friday, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease official, made what he called a “plea” to the country on Friday to understand that the outbreaks, which are mainly in the South and West, could potentially spread to the entire country.
“If we don’t extinguish the outbreak, sooner or later, even ones that are doing well are going to be vulnerable to the spread,” Fauci said. “So we need to take that into account because we are all in it together, and the only way we’re going to end it is by ending it together.”