Coronavirus could potentially cause a drug shortage in the U.S.

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — With the novel coronavirus shutting down employers in China, there could soon be a shortage of ingredients for critical antibiotics and other medications we use in the U.S.

However, a pharmacist in Fishersville said people shouldn't panic.

The demand for certain medications in China is high from those suffering from COVID-19, and many people aren't able to work.

Drugmakers are required to report any expected supply disruptions to the FDA, and so far, no firm has reported any shortages.

While drugs like amoxicillin and penicillin, which are expended almost daily in pharmacies, especially during cold and flu season, are at risk of running short, pharmacists say not to worry.

"We have a major supplier we use and then we have two or three little suppliers that sometimes, if the case should arise that something is not available at this supplier, we can then go to alternate suppliers," Pharmacist Mark Robertson said.

Robertson said most of their drugs are from manufacturers in India, Italy or the United States.

If one manufacturer reports a shortage, there are plans in place so people do not go without drugs they need.

"Other manufacturers have to step up, and they have to increase their production, and sometimes that can cause some delays," Robertson said.