Health Officials Watching Lyme Disease Drug Shortage


Health officials in Wisconsin are watching for shortages of a drug used to treat Lyme disease. A shortage in the Twin Cities is causing prices to jump.

Doxycycline is an antibiotic used to treat a number of skin infections but one of its main applications is the treatment of Lyme disease. But while the warmer weather rouses the ticks that carry the disease some areas of the Midwest are seeing shortages of the drug. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that many pharmacies in the Twin Cities are without Doxycycline and those who have it are raising their prices. But that’s not the case in Wisconsin, says Joe Cordova of the State Department of Health Services.

“We called and just randomly checked pharmacies around the state, typically in the bigger towns, and what we did find is that everyone had doxycycline on the shelves… but we did find a big variety in prices. That’s pretty common with most drugs in most pharmacies.”

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Cordova says some major drug companies have stopped making doxycycline and others are having trouble with manufacturing, causing bottlenecks in the supply chain.

“So, what we’re hearing from the Food and Drug Administration is that they’re making these things; the supply chain just hasn’t caught up yet to the demand.”

But even though there haven’t been any shortages reported yet in Wisconsin Cordova says high demand for the drug in larger cities could cause isolated issues. According to state health officials there were 2,400 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2011 and 1,200 probable cases.