Sen. Klobuchar calls on top health officials to address medicine shortage

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In a letter to top health officials, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and three of her fellow senators, urged the amoxicillin shortage to be addressed.

“We write to express our strong concern regarding the shortage of amoxicillin,” the letter begins.

The four senators called on the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to “convene the Drug Shortage Task Force and work stakeholders, including providers, on identifying factors and potential solutions to mitigate the amoxicillin shortage.”

The urgency is shared as much of the nation — including Minnesota — deals with sharp spikes in respiratory illnesses.

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) data shows as of Nov. 19, there have been an additional 240 school outbreaks. There have been 564 school outbreaks statewide since the first week of October.

RELATED: School flu outbreaks continue to grow across Minnesota

“We consider amoxicillin [a] first-line therapy, because it treats bacterial infection well,” said Dr. Gigi Chawla, vice president and chief of general pediatrics with Children’s Minnesota.

Chawla said Children’s Minnesota is feeling the impact.

“It [challenges] our clinicians, then, to come up with alternative choices,” Dr. Chawla said about the limited access to amoxicillin. “Sometimes, the unanticipated consequences are shortages of those second-line therapies.”

She’s encouraged by Sen. Klobuchar’s push for the shortage to be addressed.

“I think the attention is certainly worthwhile, and hopefully [it] can drive some degree of impact, or at least make it top of mind, for some of these drug companies,” Dr. Chawla said.

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