On Wired.com Marilyn McKenna points out that earlier this year, the FDA warned of a shortage of doxycycline, an antibiotic used for treating things like STDs, acne, and Lyme Disease.
Since then, the price of the drug has skyrocketed while distributors report scarcities. One distributor says it won’t have any doxy until the fall, while another has restricted sales to contract customers only.
Shortly before Memorial Day, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, wrote to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to ask that the agency is doing everything it can to see that this shortage is being addressed.
“While we understand FDA has no authority to address the pricing of medications, shortages like this can have a severe impact on access to necessary care and underscore the importance of immediate action to ease shortages,” wrote the Senators.
In Maine, a state with a high rate of Lyme Disease, the state’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention tells the Bangor Daily News that it’s been able to get its hand on the drug, but “the price is going up,” with some saying it’s now five to 10 times higher than it used to be.
Although it’s difficult for the hospital to get the IV form of Doxycycline, the shortage is worse for pills, Rohani said. A quick supplier search by Rohani on Friday showed that 50 capsules would cost the hospital between $197 and $270, if it could get them.
Doxy can be replaced by other meds for many of the ills it treats, but the Maine state epidemiologist says, “We always prefer the one we know and use first line, and for Lyme, that’s Doxycycline.”