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January 1, Public Health Emergency Looms Amid Supply Shortage



In the great land of opportunity, one would never expect to face a shortage of fundamental treatments for one of the oldest known sexually transmitted diseases: syphilis.

Yet, here we are, with healthcare providers across states from Michigan to Texas rationing out penicillin G benzathine, the frontline defense against syphilis, due to supply constraints.

These are the times that test the strength of our nation’s public health system and its capacity to respond to crises.

As per Bloomberg’s report, syphilis cases have surged to alarming levels, causing the federal government to consider the announcement of a public health emergency.

The numbers are hard to ignore. In 2021, there was a 32% jump in reported cases of syphilis, with rates being the highest since the early ’90s.

The ‘Remarkable Shortage’

“This is a remarkable shortage,” commented Joseph Cherabie, an esteemed assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis’s medical school.

He mentioned the daunting task of having to prioritize treatments, saving the best for pregnant patients.

The risk with syphilis is not just to the patient but also to unborn children, with congenital syphilis, passed from mother to fetus, witnessing an alarming spike of 32% in cases from the previous year.

Looming Questions on Drug Shortages

The question on the mind of the common American is: how did we get here?

Drug shortages are nothing new to the U.S. market. In recent times, the nation has seen shortages in medicines ranging from antibiotics to ADHD treatments.

However, the origins of these supply challenges often go unnoticed.

A combination of under-investment in manufacturing and unanticipated changes in demand has created the perfect storm.

For example, a shortage of a common antibiotic for strep throat led to an increased demand for penicillin.

With Pfizer Inc. being the sole producer of penicillin G benzathine for the U.S., this unexpected surge in demand for a syphilis treatment and the alternative antibiotic for strep throat put a heavy burden on their supply lines.

Addressing the Broader STD Problem

Beyond syphilis, the larger concern is the noticeable increase in sexually transmitted diseases in recent years.

Ironically, while the rate of HIV cases has seen a decline, possibly due to the efficacy of modern treatments, other STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea have found a foothold.

An unanticipated consequence of the HIV drug’s success seems to be a decrease in condom use. This complacency has made many vulnerable to a whole range of STDs.

Moreover, state and local health departments, which shoulder the heavy responsibility of STD prevention, have faced cuts in resources and staff.

These institutions were further strained with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, drawing away the already limited resources.

Bottom Line

Our fathers and grandfathers built this nation on resilience, community, and responsibility.

This current health crisis demands a return to those values.

As the nation’s decision-makers debate the best way forward, perhaps it’s time for ordinary Americans, especially our seniors who have seen far greater challenges, to become advocates for better healthcare practices and policies.

After all, safeguarding public health is not just the duty of the government but of every responsible citizen. It’s our shared legacy and our collective future.

As our loyal readers, we encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions on this issue. Let your voice be heard and join the discussion below.




  1. Kamikazecowboy

    August 10, 2023 at 9:57 pm

    Pfizer pretty much sums it up, create a crisis and rob the sick

  2. Iyoface

    August 10, 2023 at 11:36 pm

    Pfizer’s name lept out as the ONLY supplier of penicillin. GO FIGURE! Either they make a medicine that KILLS you, or can’t make enough that SAVES you. Syphilis was all but eradicated in the U.S. but has re-emerged and growing. Wonder where it could have come from? Oh yeah- ILLEGAL ALIEN’S (border jumpers) no thanks to biden’s open borders.

  3. Captain Obvious

    August 11, 2023 at 1:20 am

    Syphilis? Seriously? Did we go back in time a dozen decades or so? I seriously couldn’t care less if anyone contracts this 100% PREVENTABLE disease. Nature has checks and balances in place, and no number or variety of pills is going to stop it from doing its job. Americans foolishly believe anything and everything can be taken care of with a pill. MOST everything can be taken care of with proper nutrition, exercise, attitude, and elimination of victim mentality as well as entitlement.

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