Four members of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation are pushing for answers from drug-making giant Johnson & Johnson on the shortages of children’s Tylenol and Motrin that have left parents and caregivers scrambling for relief for more than a month.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and US Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Lori Trahan, and Katherine Clark on Thursday morning sent a letter to the New Jersey-based company inquiring about the supply issues in Massachusetts that have left drugstore shelves bare of the popular pain-reducing medications amid the “tripledemic” of RSV, the flu, and COVID-19.
“As the manufacturer of both of these products, Johnson & Johnson has a critical role to play in addressing this shortage,” the said the letter, addressed to J&J CEO and chairman of the board Joaquin Duato. “It is essential that information on supply and production is made available to Members of Congress in order to understand the scale and scope of the ‘spot shortage’ impacting our constituents.”
J&J has blamed the supply issues on a surge in demand as cases of respiratory illness have kicked up over the winter months. The company maintained it is “not experiencing widespread shortages,” adding that they are “maximizing our production capacity, running our sites 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and continuously shipping out product,” according to an emailed statement.
But the letter, led by Pressley and Warren, raised eyebrows at this claim. “In recent public statements, Johnson & Johnson reported an increase in production to meet growing demand,” the letter said. “However, our constituents are still visiting store after store only to find empty shelves.”
The letter requested a number of “key data points” regarding the shortages, to be used in “collaborating with hospitals, community health centers, and other health care providers” throughout the state.
These queries include when J&J became aware internally of “the pending Infant & Children’s Tylenol and Motrin shortage in North America”; when the company provided “voluntary notice” of the shortage to the Food and Drug Administration; how much J&J has increased production and when that increase will match demand; when the “normal availability of product in Massachusetts” will be restored; and any data the company has regarding the “regional and city-by-city impact in an aim of further understanding the scale and scope of this shortage."
The Massachusetts politicians asked that J&J respond no later than Jan. 20.
While the FDA is not currently including children’s Motrin and Tylenol on its database of drug shortages, it says on its website that it is “working closely with the manufacturers on their efforts to further increase supply in response to the increased demand.”
Procter & Gamble, which manufactures NyQuil and DayQuil, is also coping with shortages of its pediatric products.
“We know there’s a high demand,” said Beverly mother-of-two Bonnie Molino last week, “but as a mom it’s unbelievable to go to seven different stores in a day and not be able to get the medicine you need.”
Original story HERE.