FDA reports more than 40 drug shortages in 2020, more than 85 ongoing this year

The FDA reported more than 40 new drug shortages in 2020 and more than 85 that are ongoing...
The FDA reported more than 40 new drug shortages in 2020 and more than 85 that are ongoing this year, according to the agency’s annual report. (File)
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 6:11 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) -WACO, Texas (KWTX) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported 43 new drug shortages in 2020 as well as 86 ongoing shortages, according to the agency’s annual report.

“Some of the first things we noticed that allocations were put on inhalers, especially diabetic medications where we could only get so many of certain units of tablets,” Scott Everett, operations manager of Lynn’s La Vega Pharmacy, said.

Experts says medicine shortages are a continual issue for pharmacies nationwide, but the problem has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everett said his pharmacy was forced to turn to backup suppliers for life-saving medications.

“If we couldn’t get one with our primary wholesaler, we have a secondary and our tertiary,” Everett said.

Everett says shortages are something the pharmacy is constantly monitoring and continue to experience.

“Vitamin C and zinc, sometimes it’s difficult getting those, especially those we want to provide for our customers,” Everett said.

“Prevagen, I know everyone has heard that word or that name. They have had a short supply of their medication for memory loss.”

Experts say they don’t know exactly where the shortages come from, but that it’s a combination of manufacturing issues and patient demand.

Companies are required to report to the FDA when a shortage happens, but they don’t have to specify a reason.

While much of it is out of our control, Everett says there’s a way to ensure medications are available when they’re needed.

“Folks can get their prescriptions filled the same time each month then we can package them, so you don’t have to worry about ever running out,” Everett said.

Everett says there is no need to panic, however.

The pharmacy has been able to resolve supply issues within just a couple of days.

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