Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

FDA Relaxes Rules on Hand Sanitizer Producers Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Brian Orelli, PhD - Mar 20, 2020 at 2:56PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Breweries, distilleries, and other companies will be able to help meet soaring demand if they follow the WHO's recipe.

With hand sanitizer flying off the shelves faster than it can be stocked at CVS Health (CVS -1.42%), Walgreens (WBA -2.92%), Rite Aid (RAD -5.15%), and other retailers, the Food and Drug Administration is relaxing its policies on how the gels get produced.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency says it doesn't plan on taking action against companies that make their own hand sanitizers for public use. That's good news for breweries and distilleries across the country that have started using their equipment to manufacture hand sanitizer -- which is, after all, primarily ethyl alcohol.

Manufacturers will still have to follow the World Health Organization's recipe, and only add alcohol, glycerol, hydrogen peroxide and water. They'll also have to label their bottles properly, but the FDA has provided images of exactly what information needs to be on the front of the bottles and in the Drug Facts box. Brewers will also have to register their facilities in the FDA's system, but won't they have to wait for any type of approval before they begin production.

Mother applying hand sanitizer to her hands and her son's

Image source: Getty Images.

The FDA is also relaxing guidance for compounding pharmacies, which modify medications for the needs of specific patients -- for example, taking a drug that is only sold as a pill, and converting into a liquid so that it can be swallowed more easily, or taken at a dosage that is not commercially available. Rules typically require compounding pharmacies to have a prescription for a specific patient to make a new compound, but the FDA is relaxing that requirement for hand sanitizer, which will allow compounders to manufacture the product in bulk and sell it. Like other manufacturers, compounding pharmacies will have to follow the WHO's recipe and label their bottles properly.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Rite Aid Corporation Stock Quote
Rite Aid Corporation
$7.55 (-5.15%) $0.41
CVS Health Corporation Stock Quote
CVS Health Corporation
$93.20 (-1.42%) $-1.34
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. Stock Quote
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
$40.96 (-2.92%) $-1.23

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/28/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.