South Dakota stockpiling more prescription drugs due to shortages



(The Center Square) – South Dakota will stockpile more medications and pharmaceutical drugs in case of emergencies amid nationwide shortages, Gov. Kristi Noem announced Wednesday.

The governor said the Department of Health is expanding its emergency stash to include albuterol, epinephrine, insulin, prednisone, pediatric amoxicillin, and the antibiotics the department currently has stockpiled.

The DOH is also extending its cache to five more cities to include Aberdeen, Hot Springs, Mobridge, Pierre, and Yankton, Noem said.

“This is not a new issue,” said DOH Secretary Melissa Magstadt. “Drug shortages have been growing over the last decade or so. What is new and progressively worsening is our reliance on single sources for diversity of the drug supply chain.”

A report from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs outlined challenges healthcare providers faced due to a lack of medication availability.

There were several months last year in South Dakota where amoxicillin was unavailable among other drugs, said Magstadt.

“The U.S. no longer has the capabilities to manufacture medications, especially our generic medications. In addition, the U.S. now competes with the entire globe for the same sources. China is the raw material holder and India is the finished product manufacturer for the majority of generic medications for the entire globe. This is a problem,” Magstadt said.

Up to 80% of the active ingredients for generic prescription drugs sold in the U.S. come from foreign countries, primarily China and India, according to the committee report. The report also acknowledged it was impossible to know where pharmaceutical drugs sold in the U.S. are sourced from.

Noem said “very few” pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities left in the United States and called it a potential national security problem.

“We need to take action to make sure we’re protecting our families, our children, to make sure we have the ability to provide for them when a crisis hits their family has far as their healthcare goes and that is why today in South Dakota we are going to take the action we can take and call on Washington D.C. to do more,” the governor said.

Noem said she is sending letters to congressional leadership, South Dakota’s congressional delegation and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration commissioner to call on them to develop long-term policy solutions to address medication shortages.

“When our drugs are manufactured in just one or two countries, then any serious event can create a shortage. And those shortages hurt the young, the elderly, and the sick more than anyone else,” said Magstadt.

Noem asked the DOH in May to study South Dakota’s drug shortages.

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