Pfizer’s Zoloft Falls Into Shortage as Virus Strains Supplies

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One of the most widely prescribed antidepressants in the U.S. has fallen into short supply, as demand increases due to mental-health strains caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Food and Drug Administration added Zoloft tablets to its list of drugs in shortage on Friday. Zoloft, which is sold under the generic name sertraline, was first approved in the U.S. in 1991. It’s used to treat a range of conditions, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic-stress disorder.

The pandemic has increased concerns over the fragility of the global supply chain and the capacity of manufacturers to respond to spikes in demand for certain therapies. Other drugs, including hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial medication touted by President Donald Trump as a Covid-19 treatment, have also experienced supply disruptions in recent weeks.

Isolation and anxiety triggered by the coronavirus have heightened demand for mental-health services. Zoloft prescriptions climbed 12% year-over-year to 4.9 million in March, the most ever in the U.S., according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. Prescriptions receded to 4.5 million in April.

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