Pharmacists forced to find other remedies for patients due to manufacturer backorders

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Posted at 6:04 PM, Oct 21, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Important medications are the latest casualty of the supply chain crisis. Pharmacists are reporting that their wholesalers are low on critical supplies and they are having to get creative.

"If you take a look at the FDA's list of drug shortages, most of them are of the injectible drugs, but not solely limited to medication, we have had shortages of prescription vials, containers to put the medication in," said Dr. Shawn Pruitt, owner of Pruitt's Discount Pharmacy.

Pruitt's Discount Pharmacy in East Nashville is well stocked, but the owner knows inventory moves fast. Pruitt gets prescription drugs and medical supplies from about three suppliers, whereas chain stores sometimes only buy from one. He is still paying attention to the logjams at international ports and warehouses.

"You have to keep in mind these products are manufactured overseas. China has either slowed down production because of COVID-19 or the blackouts [have]. Even if the product left on time. because there are 80 other ships waiting to be unloaded and not enough people to unload it's going to be a problem," said Pruitt.

Pruitt says the worst of it may not be until the very end of the year or the beginning of next year. He knows some pharmacists are resorting to panic buying.

"Whereas you may see they have 100 bottles available, now you may see two or three and it kinda gives angst to the pharmacy owners that, 'hey we should start buying and hoarding products,' and that may be contributing to some of the shortages we see too," Pruitt says.

The shortages are actually good for business at independent pharmacies.

"We've seen an influx of new patients who go to chains normally, because those chains are out of medications," Pruitt said.

At Pruitt's, if they can't get certain medicines in, pharmacists will suggest natural substances in stock.

"We've been taking care of patients naturally along with prescription medications for going on nine years now, so mother nature has an alternate for anything Big Pharma does," Pruitt said.