Coronavirus Anxiety Has Led to a Zoloft Shortage

Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

We have more bad news for you. According to a report from Bloomberg, the U.S. is experiencing a shortage of a commonly prescribed antidepressant. The Food and Drug Administration designated Zoloft, which is sold in generic form as sertraline, as a drug in short supply on Friday.

As the need for mental health services grew in response to the effects of the pandemic, so too did the rate that Zoloft — which treats depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders, among other things — was prescribed. The drug’s prescription rate rose to 4.9 million in March, up by 12 percent compared to the previous year. This larger need coincided with pandemic-related fractures in the global supply chain and the difficulties companies had keeping up with an unforeseen demand.

The former affected suppliers of the generic version, sertraline. Bloomberg, by way of the FDA’s drug-shortage database, reports that these producers weren’t able to accrue enough of the drug’s active pharmaceutical ingredient, though they did not disclose to Bloomberg where the ingredient is made. The pharmaceutical companies Lupin Limited and Accord Healthcare both said sertraline would be on back order for at least two months.

Pfizer Inc., which produces Zoloft, is facing a more limited supply due to higher demand of some versions of the product, “such as 100 milligram tablets in 100-count bottles,” Bloomberg writer Anna Edney explained. A spokesperson from Pfizer told Bloomberg that they produce their own active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Coronavirus Anxiety Has Led to a Zoloft Shortage