Drug Shortage Challenges Across the Country
There is a crisis in America and many other countries that has people finding a lack of medicines on the shelves. We are deep in the cold and flu season and for some reason, getting access to typical medicines is proving to be incredibly difficult. You may have noticed a lack of Children’s Tylenol, Tamiflu, Lidocaine and more. Parents, caregivers and individuals are hustling to find a way to relieve symptoms from the wave of viral and bacterial infections sweeping the nation.
What is Happening
Between flu season and a spike in respiratory illnesses, winter 2022-2023 is proving to be worrisome. It all started with an early fall surge of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) with a spike in the flu that sent many people to the store for these medications more often and earlier in the season than normal. The demand for things like Children’s Tylenol and other non-prescriptions fever reducers has soared, creating a huge shortage. Additionally, it has been reported that drugs like adderall (for ADHD) and the diabetes drug Ozempic are noticeable in short supply.
According to the drug manufacturers, they are not seeing a shortage in production. However, once a product is deemed ‘in demand’ then people descend upon it like they did with toilet paper in 2020. So it may actually just be less readily available in certain regions of the country or certain stores.
Some pharmacies are trying to help with hoarding by putting a purchase limit on certain products. In addition, amoxicillin is also experiencing shortages. The good news is there is no shortage of ingredients. This could be detrimental to the supply chain. For now, purchase limits are vitally important along with educating the public that they should only be buying these products if they are in immediate need.
What Can You Do?
If you are finding that the shelves are bare, there are some things you can indeed try. First off, try looking for a generic alternative to the medication you are in need of. Generic medications are just as safe and effective as their brand-name counterparts. Also, do not limit yourself to one store. Try to shop around different pharmacies and grocery stores for the medications you need.
What Are Some Alternatives?
Perhaps there may even be some alternatives to the medications you are looking for. Be sure to always consult with your doctor first. They may have an alternate option if you are having a hard time finding it on store shelves.
You may also be able to go without the medication. According to many doctors, not all fevers need to be treated medicinally. Especially if you have an older child or young adult, the fever itself is not intrinsically bad. A lukewarm bath, cool mist humidifier, and two teaspoons of honey can help reduce a fever. Of course any behavioral changes should not be taken lightly.
In a tougher situation, the Food and Drug Administration has also announced a shortage in amoxicillin supplies. This is due to an increase in demand for the antibiotic as respiratory cases surge. The shortage is expected to last for a few more months. The liquid version is especially hard to find since young kids have a hard time swallowing pills or tablets.
If you are finding it difficult to fill a prescription of an antibiotic this cold and flu season, do not hesitate to talk to your pharmacist or health care provider. There are likely other antibiotics that can be prescribed for your situation or alternative solutions. It just might require a little strategy and creativity on the part of your health care team.
It is important to also keep in mind that respiratory illnesses will not be helped with antibiotics. Colds, flu, RSV and Covid-19 are also viral infections. Your symptoms from these infections will not subside by taking an antibiotic. However, if you end up experiencing a secondary bacterial infection like an ear infection, sinus infection or bacterial pneumonia then an antibiotic may be able to help.
The fall of 2022 and beginning of the new year of 2023 has turned out to be rough for the sick and infected. The shelves are rather bare for common drugs to treat colds, flu and other infections. The medications are continually in production but not fast enough for the unanticipated demand. If you find yourself in this awful position, be sure to talk with your pharmacist and doctor for alternative plans. Be sure to reach out to friends and family to help you find any over-the-counter medications you are falling short on. The shelves should be stocked soon.