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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2013 Dec 13;62(49):1014-5.

Extent and effects of recurrent shortages of purified-protein derivative tuberculin skin test antigen solutions - United States, 2013.


Two purified-protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin skin test (TST) antigen solutions are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Tubersol (Sanofi Pasteur Limited) and Aplisol (JHP Pharmaceuticals, LLC). Tubersol was out of production in late 2012 through April 2013. Shortages of Aplisol have resulted from increased demand as practitioners have sought a substitute for Tubersol. Tubersol production resumed in May 2013, and supplies had been nearly restored by early June. However, in mid-July, state tuberculosis (TB) control officials notified CDC of difficulty obtaining Tubersol and Aplisol. Sanofi Pasteur notified FDA of a temporary delay in the availability of tuberculin in the 10-dose and 50-dose presentations. In mid-October, the 10-dose presentation was being returned to market, on allocation, which means that historical purchasing practices determine the amount that customers are allotted. In late October, the 50-dose presentation was being returned to market, also on allocation, one vial per historical customer per month. Supplies are forecast to approach normal during January 2014, after distributors have restored their supply chains. A compensatory surge in testing after deferment of testing during the periods of shortage might cause further temporary instability of supplies. In mid-August 2013, officials in 29 of 52 U.S. jurisdictions noted a shortage of at least one PPD TST antigen solution in health departments to the extent that it interrupted activities. This report includes a summary of the extent and effects of the shortages and a reiteration of advice on how to adapt to them.

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