Local healthcare providers stay alert amid national Amoxicillin shortage

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The FDA is warning that certain types of Amoxicillin, a common antibiotic used by children, are in short supply across the United States.

The warning comes at a time when pediatric illnesses are on the rise. Locally, both major health systems have seen the shortage looming and are preparing.

“There are times that we are juggling medications across our hospitals or managing doses to ensure that patients get what they need,” explains Dr. Robert Mayo, the Chief Medical Officer for Rochester Regional Health. “We actually have a number of full-time pharmacists, their entire job is to be constantly sourcing medications.”

“We’ve seen no critical shortages of antibiotics that’s going to cause concern to our kids or community,” adds Dr. Michael Apostolkos, the Chief Medical Officer at Strong and Highland Hospitals. “If something like that were to occur we would notify the community, but yes may there be another choice instead of a certain antibiotic. Yes that’s possible.”

Amoxicillin is typically used to treat illnesses like ear infections, strep throat and whopping cough in children. While the hospitals may be managing the shortage right now, parents may need to visit multiple pharmacies in order to fill a prescription or ask the doctor for an alternative.

Suppliers say an increase in demand for the antibiotic coupled with supply chain issues are leading to the shortage. It’s something doctors are starting to get used to hearing.

“When Puerto Rico was really stricken by the hurricane a few years ago, a lot of medical supplies are made there so there was some shortages of those medical supplies then too,” explains Dr. Mayo.

While Amoxicillin is not used to treat COVID-19, RSV or the Flu, the drug’s limited supply comes at a time when all of our pediatric emergency rooms are at or over capacity due to an early rise in respiratory illnesses.