MONROE, LA. (KTVE/KARD) — The medicine and drug shortage has been a problem for many years across the United States, and has especially grown after the pandemic. This shortage affects multiple groups of people including those needing medication as well as hospitals and pharmacies. Dr. John Bruchhaus, Chief Medical Officer at St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, LA., talked about exactly how the hospital has been affected throughout these past few years.
“It’s been going on for almost five years now, but more severe post pandemic. We first noticed it in 2017 when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico which devastated the pharmaceutical industry.”
Dr. Bruchhaus said that St. Francis has been fortunate to be able to receive needed medications from larger hospitals they are partnered with as well as wholesalers that they are connected to. However, rural hospitals lacking in these connections have lost out on a large amount of help due to dwindling numbers of medications.
“We have purchasing power from five to six hospitals, so we’ve often been able to purchase alternatives to the medications that we’re experiencing the shortages with, and our patients have benefited from that greatly. One thing that it has affected is that, in the past, we loaned a lot of these medications to some of the smaller rural hospitals when they experienced severe shortages, and unfortunately we’ve not been able to do that as much as we used to in the past due to us needing the medication and every bit of it that we have on the shelf.”
Dr. Kay Chandler, Owner and Head Pharmacist of Kay’s Compounding Pharmacy in Monroe, LA., talked more about the possible causes of these shortages.
“There are a couple of reasons for drug shortages, there’s increase demand and low supply. That can occur for a number of reasons; if you have a manufacturing issue, and the manufacturer can’t provide enough product, then that is a shortage issue.”
Both Dr. Bruchhaus and Dr. Chandler said they think the future of drug shortages includes finding alternative supply chain routes through new wholesale relationships and solutions made by insurance companies to get people the medication they need.