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National drug shortage hits BG students

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Empty prescription medication bottles (stock).

Many BGSU students are now struggling to get their prescriptions filled due to a national drug shortage affecting the entirety of the United States.

Drug shortages can occur due to many reasons and Alexander Canaday, pharmacy intern at the Falcon Health Center, spoke on why they can happen.

“There can be a multitude of reasons, but a lot of times it boils down to the supply and demand of the medication. In the case of Adderall, a lot of times the shortages can even be tied back to the COVID-19 pandemic due to people seeking mental health care,” said Canaday.

People in the younger demographic who struggle with attention or focus are typically prescribed Adderall, which is a controlled substance that improves the focus of an individual. 

According to The Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortage database, over 100 drugs are currently shorted, including Adderall.

“Online telehealth care allowed for easier access to Adderall,” said Canaday. “When you combine that with more people seeking potential treatment for ADHD, this increases the demand for Adderall and causes an issue where the drug companies aren’t able to keep up with demand.” 

Drug shortages can also occur due to manufacturers of drugs going out of business or stopping production, which leaves patients without their medicine.

“Manufacturers of drugs can also go out of business or stop production, such as the Lidocaine 2% viscous oral topical solution and the main supplier stopped production at a center. This made the supply shortage go down because all of the other suppliers didn’t have the ability to meet the demand when the main company stopped production,” said Canaday.

When pharmacies are dealing with drug shortages, they sometimes have to send patients away who are trying to fill prescriptions which can cause issues to arise.

“I have been denied both by CVS and Rite Aid of multiple medications due to them not having them and not being able to order them,” said third-year student Maddie Orwig.

Orwig said she has also noticed a change in her physical and mental health, as her medication isn’t readily available due to these shortages.

“Some of my medications are for chronic illnesses and without them, going to class and work is really difficult. It has really affected my mental health as well,” she said. 

Due to the shortage, some students have even had to drive long distances or go under withdrawal of their medications.

“I have had to have prescriptions filled back home and I’ve had to go get them there,” said fourth-year student Katelyn Hubert. “I’ve also had to wait until the pharmacies get more and go through withdrawal from the prescription.” 

Companies try their best to prevent drug shortages from happening, but some of the time they aren’t able to be prevented due to unforeseen circumstances.

“Companies try to do their best to try and anticipate shortages by having stockpiles or having drugs created. If they hear a company that is the main producer of a drug might be shutting down, they might try and reach out to increase production. Drug companies always try their best to anticipate a shortage, but it can be hard,” said Canaday.

Falcon Health Center, which is owned by BGSU and Wood County Hospital is currently dealing with shortages, and the staff is trying their best to combat the shortage, but that isn’t always possible.

“The biggest thing we’re doing is contacting different suppliers and we have workers who are constantly trying to see what brands are available, and seeing what can and can’t be filled and we’re checking that daily. If we cannot have a medicine filled, we try to call other pharmacies or recommend that the patient check out other pharmacies in the area. Another challenging thing with controlled substances such as Adderall prescriptions for us is that since they’re controlled substancesif a prescriber sends a prescription to us electronically and we’re out, those drug  prescriptions are not allowed to be transferred to other pharmacies. Even if another pharmacy has the prescription, the patient has to get in touch with their doctor and they have to cancel the prescription here and send out another one, which creates issues,” Canaday stated.

Despite drug shortages happening, pharmaceutical companies are unable to price gouge low-stocked medications due to federal regulations.

“Companies can try to price gouge, but the Government regulations do their best to keep the prices low. The Government as well as other facilities try their best to not allow price gouging on medications because they don’t want manufacturers to be able to take advantage of customers,” Canaday stated.

For more information on which drugs are shorted, check out the FDA’s website.

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