EDSA outlines supply danger to 100 medicines after manufacturer bankruptcy

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

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© Getty Images

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Earlier this year, Akorn Pharmaceuticals fell into bankruptcy, and now an alliance of stakeholders have released a report outlining potential supply disruption to a number of medications.

The End Drug Shortages Alliance (EDSA), a collaboration between healthcare industry stakeholders, has called attention to the risk of drug shortages by publishing a report​ outlining what treatments could be at risk.

The decision to publish the report arrived after Akorn Pharmaceuticals filed for bankruptcy on February 23, 2023, and ceased all manufacturing operations in the US. Prior to the company closing its doors, it possessed a portfolio of over 100 medications.

According to EDSA, Akorn was the sole manufacturer for various acute care injectables, including products that are currently in shortage. This includes products such as physostigmine injection, dimercaprol injection, and calcitriol injection.

There is currently a mitigation strategy in place for some of the products most at risk, but in the cases where Akorn had less than 100% of the market share for a particular product, such as sufentanil injection, this is not true.

“Transparency regarding drug shortages is important to ensure patient care remains uninterrupted,” said Mittal Sutaria, SVP, Vizient pharmacy contract and program services and EDSA board member. “The healthcare system needs time so that pharmaceutical companies can increase manufacturing when possible and providers can develop mitigation strategies to alleviate any potential disruption in supply when a manufacturer exits the market.”

EDSA stated that due to the potential for drug shortages, clinicians will need to develop strategies to mitigate the issue, and encouraged them to exercise a ‘stewardship mindset’ when ordering, prescribing and administering medication affected by supply constraints.

Further, the organization advised manufacturers of impacted products to evaluate their ability to maintain or increase product availability for the marketplace.

Akorn bankruptcy

The problems that Akorn had faced had been ongoing for a number of years. In 2018,​ the company had attempted to merge with Fresenius Kabi, but the deal had fallen through after the latter company cited operational problems at the former.

Following this period, the company looked to sell itself, but could only manage the sale of individual products and brands. Earlier this year​, Herald & Review published a letter from Akorn’s then CEO, Douglas Boothe, to employees of the company, announcing that it would file for bankruptcy,

As a result of the decision, the company closed all US sites and engaged in a company-wide lay-off of employees.

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