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Supply chain issues leading to shortages of more than 100 prescription drugs

Posted at 8:49 AM, Nov 03, 2021

(WXYZ) — Supply chain issues are impacting everything from clothes to food, and now, even prescription medications.

Pharmacies right here in metro Detroit are running out of prescription drugs. Some are impacted by the crisis more than others.

The FDA said there are about 111 drugs on backorder. That includes cancer drugs, antibiotics and heart medications.

" My Pharmacist is saying it will take up to two weeks to fill Depo Provera which is a birth control shot," Arrissa Cash said. "I wasn't informed of this until I spoke with my doctor's office when I had my shot administered and they said some patients can't even get their shots."

Cash's daughter is also having a hard time getting allergy medication, and her husband can't get the drug hydroxychloroquine.

It's all about where you go, though. Depending on big box stores like Meijer, Walgreens and CVS where there's more than one store, supply and demand would be playing a role.

Medical equipment like wheelchairs and walkers are also being impacted by the supply chain problems

Pharmacists are also seeing popular drugs that people take daily like Adderall, oxycodone and insulin run out.

Other over-the-counter meds like Theraflu, Nyquil and others are hard to keep on the shelves.

Robert Smith, the staff pharmacist at Notre Dame Pharmacy in Grosse Pointe, said they aren't seeing a major impact just yet.

"So far it hasn't been as bad as we thought it would be. It's just rarely used things that are obviously spiking in usage do to off-label uses," he said.

In a statement, the FDA said: "The FDA is 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."

There could be a number of reasons why a drug might be short. They say hospitals and pharmacies sometimes report local supply issues or "spot" shortages but they are usually temporary and involve distribution issues that will resolve when they can re-order.

Here's what you can do if you run into this problem.

  • Call other pharmacies and check their supply
  • Ask your doctor to see if there is an alternative
  • Don't panic buy

For Arrissa, she just hopes this will end soon.

"We don't all think about that chain supply of our medication. We are always thinking about toys, paper products, water, and food," she said.