NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Recent supply chain disruptions are impacting everything from clothes to food, and even trips to the pharmacy. Popular drugs like Adderall, oxycodone, and insulin are running low nationwide.
In Tennessee, Steve Beasley said he’s having trouble finding iron dextran for his iron infusions. “I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place right now – none of the pharmacies around here can get it where they can compound it in-house.”
The FDA currently lists 112 drug shortages on its website. The reasons for the backlogs all vary.
“Some of the companies have discontinued making [iron dextran] for whatever reason,” Beasley said. “I don’t know, it just says manufacturing delays.”
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The life-saving drug Narcan is being impacted too, with Pfizer’s website listing the availability of its injectable naloxone formulation as depleted. “A big reason there is a shortage – Pfizer had a manufacturing issue toward the beginning of the year,” Tara Schiller, CEO of SoberBuddy, said.
One group impacted by the shortage is the Opioid Safety and Supply Network (OSSN) Buyer’s Club. The group is the largest source of naloxone distribution directly to affected communities, accounting for 1.3 million doses in 2020 alone.
The OSNN Buyers Club stated they have an exclusive arrangement with Pfizer for the low-cost generic injectable. While there is not a widespread shortage of the product itself, the shortage specifically affects the group of programs. As of August 2021, OSNN Buyers Club programs are back-ordered by over a quarter-million doses of naloxone.
This shortage issue is creating a “perfect storm” scenario where overdoses are sky-rocketing, but access to life-saving medication is plummeting, said Schiller. “This group distributes in areas where there is no government infrastructure in purchasing naloxone.”
Nexstar reached out to the FDA about shortages and received the following response:
“The FDA is actively monitoring drug availability and we are committed to working with our public health partners, manufacturers and distributors to help mitigate shortages and make help ensure continued patient access to vital safe and effective drugs.”