The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said malaria drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are in shortage due to a surge in demand because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There is an urgent need for new treatments as the pandemic that has killed 42,000 people globally puts a strain on healthcare systems and wreaks havoc on financial markets.

Studies are underway in a number of countries to see whether hydroxychloroquine and the related malaria drug chloroquine may be effective in controlling the spread of coronavirus, which has led to a surge in demand for the treatments.

The agency has said it was working with companies making generic versions of the drugs to ramp up production.

The unprecedented demand created by the global pandemic is creating shortages for even basic over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol, as supply chains strain from the manufacturers that produce the medications to the wholesalers that deliver them to pharmacies, making it extraordinarily difficult to keep shelves fully stocked for key items in hot zones like New York.

Pharmacies are improvising when they can. City Drug & Surgical in one Manhattan’s neighborhood has been making hand sanitizer since the brand names sold out about three weeks ago. It takes about 40 minutes to make a batch of 24 bottles. They sell out the same day.

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