Wear the Gown: Antibiotic and Drug Shortage

Wear the Gown: Antibiotic and Drug Shortage

Right now, there are about 300 medication shortages nationwide, which is the largest number since 2014. But for most of these medications, there’s no need to panic. Jennifer Rodriguez, executive director of University Health pharmacy services, explains.

“One of the drug shortages was amoxicillin, and this is a common medication they use to treat ear infections, strep throat, respiratory infections,” Rodriguez said. 

If the drug you are prescribed is out, you should speak with the pharmacist about options. “The pharmacist can call your provider’s office and recommend an alternative medication that can provide the same treatment,” Rodriguez said. 

Reasons for Drug Shortages

  • Supply and demand issues
  • Lack of raw materials to create the product
  • An FDA regulatory issue
  • A business decision

“Most recently, Akorn Pharmaceuticals closed for business. They voluntarily recalled some of their medications and this is creating some of our shortages right now,” Rodriguez said.

Respiratory medications are also running short, including Albuterol. “Luckily we do have strategies to mitigate drug shortages. We have alternative vendors, alternative wholesalers or manufacturers that we can reach out to,” Rodriguez said. 

Top 5 Categories with Shortages

  • Chemotherapy
  • Antimicrobials
  • CNS medications for sleep and anxiety
  • Cardiovascular medications
  • Fluids or electrolytes used in a hospital setting

Rodriguez says if you’re running low on medication, don’t skip doses. “We want to encourage patients to talk to their pharmacist or health care provider to find an alternative medication that’s available for their treatment,” Rodriguez said.

Pharmacy Services at University Health

Learn more about the pharmacy services at University Health on our website.


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In partnership with KENS5-TV, we provide health care information for you and your family on timely topics. Visit our Wear the Gown webpage to watch the latest segment.
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