Health providers seeing shortage of needed medications

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – This holiday season, physicians, pharmacists and consumers have been hit with a new and serious problem.

At the Pharmacy Shop, Dr. Clarence Sullivan says there has been, without a doubt, an uptick in flu and respiratory illnesses, but pharmacies across the country are running out of the needed medication.

“The problem with supply is the children’s in everything,” Dr. Sullivan said. “Tamiflu, over-the-counter cough drops, to cough syrup. Tylenol to Ibuprofen. Everything is running really short or completely out.”

And for adults, Dr. Sullivan has nine cases of Tamiflu left; that’s nine people who can get that flu treatment.

“After that, that’s it. We’re trying to get, by backup means, some of those supplies. But it doesn’t look good right now,” Dr. Sullivan said.

It’s grim news for those trying to get over-the-counter medications. It’s even worse news for those who are hospitalized.

“There is a shortage again with that Tamiflu. For our hospitalized patients, that is really the only treatment available for them,” Pharmacy Clinical Coordinator at Baptist Health Richmond, Casey Metts, said.

Metts and his team have been reaching out to providers and neighboring pharmacists to try and get the medication for their outpatients. However, it is difficult when everyone is out.

“We’re working to ensure we get what supply we have as a system to the patients that need it.”

Both pharmacists say it’s a combination of several factors creating these shortages, from demand to shipping and transportation problems.