Drug shortages affect South Dakota patients

A member of the Doctors for America FDA Task Force said there are more medications in short supply here at home.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 5:48 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It’s hard to imagine in a country with so many health services that anyone could struggle with finding medications.

Monday, we reported on a possible chemotherapy drug shortage in South Dakota.

Tuesday, Dakota News Now heard from a member of the Doctors for America FDA Task Force, who said there are more medications in short supply here at home.

The Doctors for America FDA Task Force is advocating for improvements in the supply chain for medicine.

Dr. Ravi Gupta is on that task force. He’s also a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He sees two main reasons for a prescription shortage. One is popularity, like Ozempic.

“They’re being marketed heavily. It’s been shown to be quite effective. But that’s a very specific set of drugs,” said Dr. Gupta.

The second and more serious concern is the manufacturing facilities, mostly in India and China.

“Not being enough manufacturers of ingredients that go into the drugs,” said Dr. Gupta.

Dr. Gupta sees Gov. Kristi Noem’s action to create a cache of certain medications as a positive move.

“Albuterol, epinephrine, insulin, prednisone, and pediatric amoxicillin,” said Noem.

It’s not foolproof, however.

“You have to know beforehand potentially which drugs might go into shortage, and we don’t necessarily know that,” said Dr. Gupta.

Broadening the FDA’s oversight is a possible solution.

“The FDA isn’t able to closely inspect all of the manufacturing sites. If there’s an issue at any one of them, it can create a trickle effect, and then you end up with a drug shortage,” said Dr. Gupta.

If you’re struggling to find your prescription, Dr. Gupta suggests contacting as many pharmacies as possible to locate what you need.

The second choice is less desirable.

“Take a lower dose, or maybe try to decrease the frequency with which they’re taking the drug, and hope that they’re able to last until a new supply comes into the pharmacy,” said Dr. Gupta.

The Doctors for America FDA Task Force is also advocating for the creation of more manufacturing facilities in the U.S, increasing transparency to monitor for potential problems and creating a better way for manufacturers to switch from creating one drug to another that’s in short supply.

Dr. Gupta said it’s important to discuss any changes in your medication with your doctor.