Pfizer Warns of Looming Shortage of Long-Acting Penicillin for Children

Company says there is impending shortages of Bicillin, with pediatric versions of the shot likely to run out by the end of June
injection with a needle
injection with a needle

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FRIDAY, June 16, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Pfizer Inc. warned doctors this week of an impending shortage of Bicillin, its long-acting, injectable form of penicillin.

The medication is not commonly used for children because alternatives such as amoxicillin are preferred over the Bicillin shot, the company explained in a statement. So, while production issues are ongoing, Pfizer plans to prioritize the medication for adults, for whom Bicillin is recommended for treating syphilis. Syphilis rates have been increasing, up by more than 30 percent in 2021, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All of this means that although Bicillin for adults may be in short supply, it is not expected to be unavailable. However, the pediatric version of the drug will likely run out by the end of June, CNN reported.

The issues with Bicillin stem from shortages of amoxicillin last fall, CNN reported, because doctors used Bicillin in its place and Pfizer has not been able to increase production fast enough.

The FDA said it "recognizes the potential impact that lack of availability of certain products may have on health care providers and patients," in a statement, CNN reported.

"While the agency does not manufacture drugs and cannot require a pharmaceutical company to make a drug, make more of a drug, or change the distribution of a drug, the public should rest assured the FDA is working closely with numerous manufacturers and others in the supply chain to understand, mitigate, and prevent or reduce the impact of intermittent or reduced availability of certain products," the FDA said.

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