The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) conducted a survey recently which found that 96 percent of pharmacy technicians across the country are reporting shortages of what are considered "essential" pharmaceutical drugs.
Everything from chemotherapy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs to weight loss medications and everything in between is currently in short supply due to lingering supply chain problems stemming from the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) "pandemic."
"Drug shortages are affecting many areas of pharmacy practice, such as retail, compounding and hospitals," said Anthony Longo, a doctor of pharmacy and director of pharmacy at Northwell Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in Queens, New York.
Eventually, the drug supply will run completely dry – then what?
In nine out of 10 cases, surveyed technicians indicated that they offer substitute drugs whenever possible, though nearly half of the time, around 45 percent, patients still end up leaving the pharmacy without their needed medications.
This can be particularly devastating for patients with cancer and other serious illnesses that require steady and regular treatment. When they are unable to get their prescribed drugs, patients are increasingly turning to alternatives, which can be really good or really bad, depending on what that entails.
When no alternative drug exists, nearly one in three pharmacy technicians resorts to in-house compounding, meaning they mix drugs themselves to come up with something that patients can use. Just six percent of pharmacy technicians seek out external pharmacies to fill missing prescriptions.
"In-house compounding of drugs refers to the practice of preparing customized medications within a healthcare facility, such as a hospital, pharmacy, or medical clinic, rather than obtaining commercially available medications," explains The Epoch Times.
In some cases, desperate pharmacy technicians are collaborating with other pharmacy teams to try to seek out other ways of getting the drugs they need.
"We run weekly shortage calls as a system to address shortages," one said in a statement.
Another indicated in the survey that some pharmacy technicians and their teams are even going so far as to contact drug representatives to try to locate missing medications for their patients.
"It's no surprise that pharmacy technicians are actively working on solutions to mitigate drug shortages for their patients," said PTCB CEO William Schimmel in a statement.
"I'm impressed by the spirit of collaboration, even outside of the pharmacy where they work."
Further compounding the problem is the fact that there is also a nationwide shortage of pharmacy technicians. Persistent staffing shortages combined with persistent drug shortages is creating "an unsustainable reality for the entire health care system," Schimmel warned.
The PTCB survey findings reflect those of a similar survey conducted by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP), which is now recommending policy solutions that target what it says are the key drivers of generic drug shortages: quality control, supply chain disruptions, and extreme price competition.
"This issue requires quick action from Congress to address the underlying causes of shortages and ensure patients have the medications they need," said ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz in a statement.
In the comments, numerous readers pointed out that this may actually be a good thing in the long run because nearly all prescription drugs come with "dramatic side effects," wrote one, rendering them not worth using.
"Veterinary drug shortages are involved, too," wrote another about how many animal medicines are also in seriously short supply, putting people's pets at risk.
It goes along with orphan drugs..the ones Big Pharma wont make cause profits are too low. It is nothing more than blackmail. See what we can do if you stop our gouging and huge profits. I take no drugs. Except for a few out there, people may find themselves healthier with fewer drugs. My idea is pharma invents a drug and then a disease to use it for.
Orzzz: It goes along with orphan drugs..the ones Big Pharma wont make cause profits are too low. It is nothing more than blackmail. See what we can do if you stop our gouging and huge profits. I take no drugs. Except for a few out there, people may find themselves healthier with fewer drugs. My idea is pharma invents a drug and then a disease to use it for.
I agree. BP meds three different ones really screwed me up. Gave them up and I'm fine. I actually do need Xanax it alleviates not only the anxiety but the Tinnitus and vertigo. I tried to replace it with legal weed, but no luck. Vertigo is worse. I'll keep looking. You are the only person who cares about what is happening around us.
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