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Antibiotics may be at risk

The coronavirus outbreak is sparking fears of drug shortages in the U.S., largely due to its disruption of pharmaceutical supplies from China and India. 

The Food and Drug Administration has warned of shortages in one drug due to the coronavirus, while penicillin shipments to the U.S. from China have dried up.

The FDA said it expects the outbreak of COVID-19 to cause “potential disruptions to supply or shortages of critical medical products in the U.S.”

China, where many factories have temporarily shuttered due to coronavirus fears, accounts for a majority of raw ingredients used to manufacture finished drugs, said Marianne Udow-Phillips, executive director of the Center for Health and Research Transformation at the University of Michigan.

“Supply chain disruptions could be truly serious for our access to drugs,” Udow-Phillips said. “I think it’s likely the Chinese government will do everything they can do to prevent that disruption because it’s so fundamental to their economy.”

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