Thursday, January 16, 2014

Report Claims Drug Shortage A Big Issue Nationwide

OZARK, Mo. -- A recent report by Northwestern Medicine found that drug shortages remain an issue across the nation and have a big impact on patient care.

"Every day it changes, and you're not sure what drug it's going to be or where it's going to be," pharmacist Mike Maloney said.

Maloney, of the Family Pharmacy in Ozark, said the problem is not as prevalent in the Ozarks as it is across the country.

"Day-to-day we're not as bad as nationwide," Maloney said. "Nationally, we have a lot of drug shortages. About 75 to 80 percent of those are injectable drugs -- so you see it more in a hospital setting or a closed environment."

Maloney said he works with several sources to keep up with the demand for medicine.

"Where you're going to see the most damage from a shortage is not something that's widely used, it's going to be something that's used by a small percentage of the population that need them."

CoxHealth released a statement to KOLR 10 News about the impact drug shortage can have on patients and staff.

"Medication shortages are an ongoing issue for hospitals across the country; the medications in short supply are continually changing. Fortunately, CoxHealth is working ahead of the curve to keep necessary medications available for our patients. Medical staff and pharmacy work together to ensure each patient receives the medications he or she needs, sometimes by adapting the medications prescribed, or by delivering those medications in alternative forms.  We also collaborate with other hospitals in our region, sharing medications that are in short supply to ensure all patients receive the care they need," the statement read.

And this time of year, because of high demand, the drugs given to flu patients can become scarce.

"That's always been the case with Tamiflu. Tamiflu has always been one of those situational drugs. You don't use it 11 months out of the year, then all the sudden it hits," Maloney said.

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