MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — While ongoing supply chain issues have impacted the availability of all sorts of products, local pharmacies have largely steered clear of prescription drug shortages.
Right now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said there are 110 medications currently in shortage.
There are many factors that can attribute to drug shortages, according to the FDA, including manufacturing and quality problems, delays and discontinuations.
“We are actively monitoring drug availability and we are committed to working with our public health partners, manufacturers and distributors to help mitigate shortages and make help ensure continued patient access to vital safe and effective drugs,” said Michael Felberbaum, a spokesperson for the FDA.
Matt Oliver, owner of Matt’s Local Pharmacy in Middletown, tells 12 News when the pandemic first hit, he made sure to stock up on a bunch of medications.
“Throughout this whole COVID situation, there has been little to no changes in the drug supply chain,” Oliver said.
12 News also reached out to CVS Health regarding any potential drug shortages. In response, CVS Health President and CEO Karen Lynch said the company has “been able to utilize our expertise and extensive partnerships throughout the supply chain to ensure the continued availability of prescription medications since the onset of the pandemic.”
According to the FDA’s 2020 Drug Shortage Report, manufacturers are notifying the agency earlier about shortages and interruptions as a result of federal actions.
By doing so, the report said it gives the FDA additional time to work with them on ways to prevent shortages. The report also highlighted how this helped the FDA successfully prevent 199 drug shortages throughout 2020.
Last year, according to data from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, there were 129 drug shortages nationwide.
When it comes to drug shortages in general, Felberbaum suggested patients discuss potential alternatives that could be used temporarily until their medication is back in stock.
“Patients can also call their pharmacy ahead of time to check if the medication is available at that pharmacy or check another pharmacy that may have stock,” he explained.