National Medical Shortage Worries Local Hospitals, Pharmacists | News

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National Medical Shortage Worries Local Hospitals, Pharmacists

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A critical problem at hospitals around the country is starting to have a real impact in Jacksonville: doctors telling patients they've run out of life-saving medicine.

The shortage has been ongoing for the past three years, but is just now starting to take a toll on patients.

"Drugs for Cystic Fibrosis, Autism, Cancer," said pharmacist Rakesh Patel, naming just a few conditions affected by the shortage.

But it's not just medication that's in short supply.

"Alcohol pads believe it or not. Alcohol pads were on back order for two or three months," he said.

Patel said the shortage of medical supplies is just now starting to affect patient care and price at hospitals and surgical centers across the US.

"It's basically a scramble to source or procure all of the elements they need, and often times they have to do it at a huge cost because there is such supply/demand issues," he said.

He blames the shortage on everything from tighter regulations by the FDA when making new drugs to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that require a tremendous amount of medical support.

And the shortage of life-saving medications is starting to have very real consequences for Americans.

"I've known of a couple of places where patients on chemotherapy have been paused or put on hold until the doctor's offices can get all the ingredients necessary to proceed," he said.  

WELL Health is a compound pharmacy, so they can actually make many of the drugs that are in short supply right there in the office.

But even when they have the right supplies and equipment, it's often a race against time to treat the patient.

"We have a child in ICU that needs amicasin, you know, what can we do to get it? And that's where we have to jump through hoops and work overtime and get it done," he said.

And even at the compound pharmacy they can't produce every drug they need.

Patel said at least one life saving cancer medication has been on back order for more than a year and a half with no end in sight.

If you'd like to know what medications are affected by the shortage, you can check out a full listing on the FDA's website. The FDA has a full list of shortages.


















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