“You’re not going to find it”: COVID pandemic causes medication shortages in Tallahassee

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 1:39 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - People who rely on prescription medications to stay healthy, along with their doctors and pharmacists, are scrambling to deal with a shortage of some drugs right now.

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting supply of medications, especially generic drugs, according to the Florida Pharmacy Association.

Plants that manufacture prescription drugs, especially those overseas, were shut down for months because of coronavirus, according to FPA CEO Michael Jackson.

“When supply is exhausted, it’s not readily replenished,” Jackson says.

Rose Ledbetter of Tallahassee says her regular pharmacy did not have her blood pressure medicine and has been out of it for a couple of weeks. Her doctor prescribed an alternative, but that was out of stock, too.

Ledbetter was told the medication was not available at any of the major pharmacies. She was down to just a two day supply when she finally tracked down the medication at a local pharmacy. But she worries about patients who aren’t as lucky.

“I’m sure others are worse off,” Ledbetter said.

The Food and Drug Administration has a running list of drugs in short supply on its website.

Right now, that list has 168 medications on it, including the blood pressure medicine Ledbetter was trying to find.

For patients whose medication is not available, pharmacists and doctors have to coordinate to find alternatives, Jackson says. But that can lead to problems like side effects from the alternative drugs or much higher costs.

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