If you’re currently being treated for a medical condition or have a long-term, chronic condition, you’ve probably already well aware that the is a massive shortage of prescription drugs going on right now. Hundreds of prescription drugs have been in short supply, including dozens of vital chemotherapy drugs. Hospitals have been reporting struggling how to handle the prescription drug shortage, and many have reporting rationing or restricting drugs that are in short supply.
Generic drugs have been especially in short supply, and the shortage has certainly affected our readers and their pocket books. Doctors and nurses have had to work with news prescription drugs which may be less effective and more expensive, and in some cases, with which they’re less familiar leading to longer treatments and/or hospital stays. In other cases, doctors and patients have had to turn to pricey, brand name drugs or drugs that aren’t covered by the patient’s health insurance.
If you are concerned that your prescription drugs may be hit in the shortage or if your drugs are already in short supply and you’re scrambling for what to do, here are some tips:
Talk To Your Doctor About What’s Going On. Yeah, yeah, it always comes back to talking to your doctor. If your doctor is recommending a course of treatment, ask him or her what alternatives might be if prescription drugs run low. Many doctors are just as blindsided by the prescription drug shortage as their patients, but now is the time to start a honest conversation about what you and your doctor may have to deal with.
Talk To Your Pharmacist. Honestly, your pharmacist may be one of your best resources during the prescription drug shortage since he or she is probably on the front lines of the ordeal. If you’ve just gotten a list of prescription drugs from your doctor, ask your pharmacist whether any are affected by the prescription drug shortage or are likely to be affected soon. If there’s a waiting list for drugs that you need, your doctor may not be aware, so you may need to discuss treatment with him or her again.
Find Out If You Could Be On the Hook For More Out-Of-Pocket Costs. Yup, if the generic prescription drug(s) that you need are not available, you may end up with a brand-name drug, and you know what that means. More out-of-pocket costs. Even though you have no control over the availability of your usual generics, you may still have to cover the costs of the brand-name drug out of your own pocket, or you could be hit with a much higher co-pay. Don’t be blindsided by the possibility. Find out now!
Keep Your Medical History Current. Always a good idea, but keeping your medical history current is really important now since you may have to take substitute drugs for a while. If your doctor and pharmacist aren’t aware of your full medical history, the chances of an allergic reaction or bad drug interaction go way up.
Contact Your Local Congressional Representatives. The Preserving Access to Life-Saving Medications Act of 2011 is currently working its way through Congress, and would require pharmaceutical companies to give the FDA early notice of any event likely to cause a drug shortage. Contact your local Congressional representative for more information.
Can you find the prescription drugs that you need right now? Tell us about it!
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