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North Texas families navigate drug supply shortages

Drug supply shortage impacting North Texas families
Drug supply shortage impacting North Texas families 02:22

DALLAS – Drug supply shortages are impacting North Texas families, as 323 drugs are in short supply, according to the American Society of Health System Pharmacists.

"I would say tricky, tricky to navigate," said Jessica Kahn, who has two boys.

Kahn said her sons were diagnosed with attention deficit disorder early in life. For the past year, she said getting their medication filled has been frustrating to say the least. 

"All of a sudden, I was not able to find their medication," Kahn said. "I've even driven all the way up north to a Walgreens or a CVS – some random place to go pick up one of my kid's prescriptions."

According to ASHP, ADD/ADHD medications are just one type of drug facing shortages. Others include more than 30 chemotherapy drugs, diabetes medications, hormone agents and antimicrobials.

"One, it's just changes in the supply chain and supply chain gaps that we're having," said Stephen Love, president of DFW Hospital Council. "The other thing is demand. There's been a lot of demand for some of these medications. Then, finally, some generic types of sterile injectables are considered 'generic.' So, some of these manufacturers have really had a race to the bottom on dropping their prices, and even some have just stopped making them."

Love said, thankfully, North Texas hospitals have a network of supply chain managers in place to stay ahead of the shortfalls.  

"Do I say that we don't have to worry? Of course, we have to worry," Love said. "But we are in a much better situation in North Texas than most places in the country."

At Dougherty's Pharmacy in Dallas, pharmacy manager Armish Patel said he has had to call drug suppliers early in the morning, just to make sure they have enough prescriptions to give to their patients each day. 

But Patel also said patients do not need to panic. 

"I try to tell them to try to be as patient as possible," Patel said. "The drug shortages, usually in my experience, have lasted anywhere from a month or two months. In that time period, we would just try to switch them over to something different."

According to the Department of Homeland Security and ASHP, drug shortages last a year-and-a-half on average. 

Kahn said her best advice to other parents is to plan ahead.

"You got to be very conscientious that it might not be available and accept that it's not an option," Khan said. "No matter how many places you call, it's not there."

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