Shortage of Sinemet Attribute to Manufacturing and Forecasting Issues

Thursday, October 04, 2018

The carbidopa-levodopa distributed under the brand names Sinemet and Sinemet Plus by Merck &Co. (Kenilworth, NJ) is out of stock and expected to be on back order through the first quarter of 2019. The controlled-release formulation Sinemet-CR is not in short supply. Merck informed the Food and Drug Administration and other health care regulation agencies that this is both because demand for Sinemet and Sinemet Plus has been higher than expected and because of manufacturing problems.

Although Merck attributed the increased demand for Sinemet as partly due to shortages of levodopa-carbidopa available from other companies, their e-mailed statement to the FDA suggested patients seek out levodopa products from other suppliers. Merck has been quoted as stating that they are doing all they can to ensure a reliable supply of Sinemet as quickly as possible. 

Sinemet is 1 of 6 drugs for which Merck recently cut prices by 10%, although as analysts have pointed out, all of these have lost patent protection and have competition from generic formulations. It has also been noted that these drugs account for less than 0.1% of Merck’s annual revenue. 

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