by Ethan Huff, Natural News:
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) conducted a survey recently which found that 96 percent of pharmacy technicians across the country are reporting shortages of what are considered “essential” pharmaceutical drugs.
Everything from chemotherapy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs to weight loss medications and everything in between is currently in short supply due to lingering supply chain problems stemming from the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) “pandemic.”
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“Drug shortages are affecting many areas of pharmacy practice, such as retail, compounding and hospitals,” said Anthony Longo, a doctor of pharmacy and director of pharmacy at Northwell Long Island Jewish Forest Hills in Queens, New York.
Eventually, the drug supply will run completely dry – then what?
In nine out of 10 cases, surveyed technicians indicated that they offer substitute drugs whenever possible, though nearly half of the time, around 45 percent, patients still end up leaving the pharmacy without their needed medications.
This can be particularly devastating for patients with cancer and other serious illnesses that require steady and regular treatment. When they are unable to get their prescribed drugs, patients are increasingly turning to alternatives, which can be really good or really bad, depending on what that entails.
When no alternative drug exists, nearly one in three pharmacy technicians resorts to in-house compounding, meaning they mix drugs themselves to come up with something that patients can use. Just six percent of pharmacy technicians seek out external pharmacies to fill missing prescriptions.
“In-house compounding of drugs refers to the practice of preparing customized medications within a healthcare facility, such as a hospital, pharmacy, or medical clinic, rather than obtaining commercially available medications,” explains The Epoch Times.
In some cases, desperate pharmacy technicians are collaborating with other pharmacy teams to try to seek out other ways of getting the drugs they need.
“We run weekly shortage calls as a system to address shortages,” one said in a statement.
Another indicated in the survey that some pharmacy technicians and their teams are even going so far as to contact drug representatives to try to locate missing medications for their patients.
“It’s no surprise that pharmacy technicians are actively working on solutions to mitigate drug shortages for their patients,” said PTCB CEO William Schimmel in a statement.
“I’m impressed by the spirit of collaboration, even outside of the pharmacy where they work.”
Further compounding the problem is the fact that there is also a nationwide shortage of pharmacy technicians. Persistent staffing shortages combined with persistent drug shortages is creating “an unsustainable reality for the entire health care system,” Schimmel warned.