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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
December 8, 1999

Shortage of Intravenous Penicillin G—United States

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1999 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1999American Medical AssociationThis is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

JAMA. 1999;282(22):2114. doi:10.1001/jama.282.22.2114-JWR1208-3-1

MMWR. 1999;48:974

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.

*Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.