IN June 1999, Schein Pharmaceuticals, Inc (Florham Park, New Jersey)* announced that its subsidiary Marsam pharmaceuticals was voluntarily recalling all of its penicillin products to address the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) regulatory concerns at Schein Pharmaceuticals' manufacturing site. Marsam Pharmaceuticals is a major manufacturer of penicillin G (potassium and sodium) in finished product vials in the United States. It is unknown when this facility will resume distribution of these products. This situation has caused a shortage of these types of penicillin in many parts of the country.
In response to this shortage, FDA has begun to identify and assist alternative manufacturers of these products. Until the product is again available, the existing supplies of penicillin should be used only for patients for whom alternative antibiotics are not appropriate. There is no known shortage of procaine or benzathine penicillin or of oral penicillin preparations. For a few conditions (e.g., congenital syphilis and neurosyphilis, and intrapartum prophylaxis for perinatal group B streptococcal disease), intravenous penicillin G is the drug of choice. Alternative treatment recommendations can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/nchstp/dstd/pencillinG.htm; or by toll-free FAXBACK request, (888) 232-3299.
Shortage of Intravenous Penicillin G—United States. JAMA. 1999;282(22):2114. doi:10.1001/jama.282.22.2114-JWR1208-3-1