Amoxicillin Shortage

November 8, 2022
A photo of kids in rain boots and coats

"Short Supply"

As winter approaches, the FDA warns of a shortage of amoxicillin – one of the most frequently prescribed antibiotics commonly used for children.
Here's What To Know:
"Amoxicillin is a recommended first-line antibiotic for many common illnesses in children, including ear infections, sinus infections, and strep throat."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Amoxicillin is *not* used to treat viral infections, like flu or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – the CDC has warned of increasing viral infections amongst children across the nation. However, viral infections can also lead to secondary bacterial infections (like ear infections) that do receive treatment typically by amoxicillin.

"To have a shortage for something like this is pretty shocking."

Clarence Sullivan, owner of The Pharmacy Shop in Lexington, KY. On October 28, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration warned of a shortage of "Amoxicillin Oral Powder," which is mixed with a liquid so it can easily be given to kids. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists began reporting shortages of the antibiotic earlier in October, incl. of amoxicillin capsules, powder and chewable tablets. Why? It's not entirely clear, though four out of the five amoxicillin manufacturers that have reported shortages to the FDA cited increased demand.

"The scary part is, we're coming into the time of the year where you have the greatest need."

Pharmacist Hugh Chancy at Chancy Drugs in GA. Many worry the shortage could continue into the winter when illnesses in children usually increase. Pediatrician Dyan Hes, NYC, said, "Parents shouldn't be concerned because luckily we have many different antibiotics to use [for bacterial infections] … but for all intents and purposes, we really would like more amoxicillin on the market."

Big Picture: The U.S. isn't the only country affected by a shortage of amoxicillin; Canada and parts of Europe are also experiencing short supply. Two manufacturers of the antibiotic that reported shortages to the FDA have said they are working to increase production. However, a spokesperson from one of these manufacturers – the Swiss manufacturer Sandoz – said that although they have added more shifts and hired more employees, supply chain issues make it difficult to quickly increase its production.

Amoxicillin is in short supply, federal health officials say (NBC News)

Pharmacies are reporting shortages of the widely used antibiotic amoxicillin (NBC News)

There’s a Shortage of Some Amoxicillin, FDA Says (The Wall Street Journal)

WATCH: Amoxicillin shortage as child RSV cases surge (CBS Evening News; YouTube)

by Jenna Lee,