Medicine shortage has local pharmacies concerned

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 4:45 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - There is a nationwide shortage of liquid albuterol, a medication commonly used by both children and adults for respiratory problems.

Quincy Medical Group Attending Physician of Allergy and Immunology Jason Knuffman said the medicine is an emergency medication to help with airflow obstruction or respiratory problems, such as asthma or chronic obstructive lung disease like COPD or Emphysema. He said if a pharmacy lacks the supply of liquid albuterol, there are other options available.

“The best next step would be the xopenex which is levalbuterol. That comes in solution, you would just simply interchange that medicine for the regular albuterol,” Knuffman said.

He said to make sure to talk to your doctor before that to make sure it’s right for you and so they can provide the information to your insurance provider.

Local pharmacies said they are seeing the shortage, including Grand Pharmacy in Hannibal.

Grand Pharmacy Owner Greg Gilmore said the shortage comes about not only due to the high demand for the drug since it’s a common item. He said a factory that was a major producer of the product nationwide shut down. He said last week they ran out of albuterol.

He said they are looking at secondary suppliers, however even they are facing challenges.

“When this type of thing happens it’s hard to get kind of a definitive timeline on when it’s gonna get better. There’s so many factors involved that it’s hard for the drug companies and the people in charge of those things to gauge I think,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore said they work with other pharmacies and recommend patients to them if they have it. He said if they can’t get the supply, they’ll offer alternatives such as Levalbuterol after clearing it with the patients doctors since they have to give approval first.

He said they haven’t had to switch anyone yet, but that is most likely going to be the next step until the supply gets better.

Gilmore said there is a shortage of other common drugs they’ve been facing as well, such as certain pediatric medications, chronic pain medication, and children’s ADHD medication. While some of the supply has gotten better, it’s still difficult to get some supplies.

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