Lawmakers worry cyberattacks could cause drug shortages - (The Hill via NewsPoints Desk)

  • In letters to US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price and Merck & Co. CEO Kenneth Frazier, lawmakers Greg Walden and Tim Murphy expressed concern about the potential threats cyberattacks pose to the health sector, including drug shortages, reported The Hill.

  • Merck was widely reported to be among businesses affected globally by the recent "NotPetya" malware attack, which broke out in Ukraine and then spread to organizations and businesses in other parts of Europe and the US.

  • "While there is no evidence, to date, that Merck's manufacturing disruption has created a risk to patients, it certainly raises concerns. For example, in a recent update on national vaccine supply, the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] reported that Merck would not be distributing certain formulations of the Hepatitis B vaccine," Walden and Murphy wrote.

  • They added "while it is unclear whether this is related to the NotPetya disruption, and much of the supply can be filled by other manufacturers, it does raise questions about how the nation is prepared to address a significant disruption to critical medical supplies."

  • The lawmakers asked Price to brief them on actions HHS has taken to probe and respond to the "NotPetya" attack, as well as "policies, plans, and procedures for addressing potential drug shortages or other associated consequences caused by cyber infections such as the NotPetya malware strain."

  • FirstWord Reports: Providing insight, analysis and expert opinion on important Pharma trends and challenging issues <Click here>

To read more NewsPoints articles, click here.