FDA head: Hurricane Maria set to hit hospitals nationwide, clobber drug supply


Enlarge / UTUADO, PUERTO RICO – OCTOBER 06: Jose Javier Santana holds a Puerto Rican flag he found on the ground after Hurricane Maria passed through. (credit: Getty | Joe Raedle )

After Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico on September 20, the nation’s drug supply and hospitals should brace for their own beating in the next two to three weeks, head of the US Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb warned in an interview with Reuters Tuesday.

With more than four dozen FDA-approved pharmaceutical plants, Puerto Rico manufactures 10 percent of drugs prescribed in the US. The list of drugs made there includes 13 of the world’s top-selling brand-name drugs, such as Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis drug, and Xarelto, a blood thinner for stroke prevention, the New York Times reported. Some of the medicines made there are made nowhere else.

“Some of these products are critical to Americans,” Scott Gottlieb told a congressional panel last week. “A loss of access could have significant public health consequences.”

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