Amazon, Walgreens and CVS face heartburn drug shortage after coronavirus treatment study revealed

New York hospitals testing heartburn drug Pepcid as potential coronavirus treatment

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Professor Dr. Marty Makary provides insight into Pepcid as a possible coronavirus treatment, antibody testing and which businesses can best function safely during a pandemic.

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

Continue Reading Below

Heartburn medication is flying off the shelves at major pharmacies throughout the United States after reports surfaced that an active ingredient in the medicine is being tested as a potential coronavirus treatment.

Industry titans such as Amazon, and Walgreens were reportedly seeing shortages in Pepcid. The active ingredient is famotidine, which is being tested to see if it acts as an inhibitor of COVID-19.

At the same time, CVS, the largest pharmaceutical chain in the nation, was out of stock of the medicine and other generic forms of famotidine in most of its New York branches, according to the Business Insider. Walgreens, which had limited stock in some stores, also ran out in other locations, according to the report.

Representatives for Amazon, Walgreens and CVS did respond to FOX Business requests for comment.

In fact, the drug is now being sold at an inflated price on eBay. Some sales surged to more than $90. By comparison, a similar Pepcid bottle can be found online at Walmart for a $10.


Famotidine is a histamine H2-receptor antagonist, or H2-blocker, and it works to decrease the amount of acid produced by the stomach to prevent and treat heartburn and other related symptoms. Its commonly sold under the brand name Pepcid.

The lack of medicine came after researchers at The Feinstein Institutes, the research arm of Northwell Health, which isNew York’s largest healthcare provider, began testing the famotidine/hydroxychloroquine to find and address the immediate needs of COVID-19 patients in the hospital.

Northwell began looking into famotidine's potential after infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Callahan visited Wuhan and noticed that patients who were already on the drug appeared to have a better chance of surviving coronavirus.

The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research

However, Matthew Libassi, spokesperson for The Feinstein Institutes is warning consumers against stocking up on Pepcid AC or other generic brands of famotidine

The dosage in the clinical trial is nine times the heartburn dose of at home Pepcid, Matthew Libassi, spokesperson for The Feinstein Institutes told Fox Business on Wednesday adding that these treatments are also being given in a controlled, health care setting.

"We are trying to emphasize 'let the science speak for itself,'" he said. "We don't really know if it will work yet, we are doing our science to determine that in due time."


Source: Read Full Article