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Pandemic worsens continual medication shortage for pharmacies

If your pharmacy doesn’t have something, you can ask your physician for alternatives

The pandemic has worsened supply chains, including medicine.
The pandemic has worsened supply chains, including medicine.

LYNCHBURG, Va. – For more than three decades, Centra Health has helped people get the medication they need. However, it’s been more difficult this year.

“If you don’t have a med, that could be life or death for some patients,” Sr. Director of Pharmacy Dr. Randall Puckett says. “We definitely don’t want to run out of medication.”

Dr. Puckett says medicine shortages are a continual issue for pharmacies nationwide, a problem that worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you think about it, it’s a lot like the toilet paper issue we saw,” Dr. Puckett says. “Increased demand, everyone panics and starts buying up what supply is there. Most of those are temporary.”

While companies are required to report to the FDA when a shortage happens, they don’t have to specify a reason. Experts say they don’t know where the shortages come from, but that it’s likely a combination of manufacturing issues and patient demand.

“About 80% of the raw materials come from overseas,” Dr. Puckett says. “We were concerned we would see a shortage in other drugs, but that hasn’t come true yet.”

Dr. Puckett says they aren’t seeing shortages that are overly concerning right now, but there are some things they are monitoring.

He adds if there’s something a pharmacy doesn’t have, patients should talk to their pharmacist or physician and find an alternative medication to take care of the issue.

About the Author:

Kortney joined the 10 News team as a Lynchburg Bureau Reporter in May 2021.