GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan health providers are keeping a close eye on drug shortages that were recently exacerbated by the closing of a major pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Akorn Pharmaceuticals shuttered last month after the company filed for bankruptcy. The Illinois-based company was a major producer of several generic cancer treatments.

“They were a big one, they really were,” Ross Eardley, a pharmacy clinical coordinator at University of Michigan Health-West, said. “In certain types of medications, they may have
made 30% to 40% of the supply that was nationally available.”

Drug shortages are nothing new. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists shows about 200 drug shortages daily over the past decade.

“Some specifically impact the hospitals, some you might see at your local pharmacy,” Corewell Health Director of Clinical Pharmacy Services Margo Bowman said. “I think one common one that we’ve discussed recently has been the children’s acetaminophen and the ibuprofen shortages.”

With the closure of Akorn Pharmaceuticals, Corewell and University of Michigan Health-West continue to monitor their cancer treatment agents to ensure consistent patient care.

“It could mean (using) a completely different agent that’s in the same class of drugs,” Eardley said. “It could be a different presentation of the same drug, something that needs to be dosed slightly differently.”

While no patients within either hospital’s oncology units have been affected yet, both specialists told News 8 that there have been cases in which one hospital helps supply another get a needed medication.

“We do work really well with all of our health care colleagues,” Bowman said. “So whether you’re a patient of Corewell or if you’re a patient of another cancer treatment facility, we would certainly make sure that we are sharing stock, making sure you are set up for success as a patient.”