North Carolina surgery center hit hard by lidocaine shortage — 3 insights

Raleigh (N.C.) Skin Surgery Center is suffering from a shortage of injectable lidocaine with epinephrine, which is in short supply despite being manufactured just 47 miles away, local news affiliate CBS17.com reports.

What you should know:

1. Lidocaine has been in short supply since March 2017. In August 2017, Raleigh Skin Surgery Center was down to a two-week supply. Center physician Tamara Housman, MD, said the surgery center was calling hospitals and pharmacies in search of lidocaine.

2. A Pfizer spokesperson said the company was aware of the shortages and that it was working to fulfill back orders, but the company did not explain why lidocaine was in short supply.

3. Dr. Housman criticized the FDA's drug shortage webpage, which lists lidocaine as both "available" and under a "manufacturing delay." A web page to that linked to a letter from Pfizer to customers is broken.

"The practice would absolutely have to shut down if we didn't have it," said Dr. Housman

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