The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists keeps an up-to-date list of shortages. Beginning in late 2022 until the present day over 200 medications are unavailable or in short supply — everything from antibiotics and asthma inhalers to saline solution for IV bags and lidocaine to numb an area.
What can you do during the shortage?
Don't wait until you are almost out before trying to get a refill. Allow time for the scramble to find your medication.
Check the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists to make sure it is a known shortage and find out whether there is a timeline on when it might become available again. Also check to see which similar medication might be available. That information is listed under each shortage medication.
Call around to see which pharmacy has the medication before a doctor sends in the prescription. Sometimes smaller pharmacies can come through; sometimes it's the bigger chains.
Tris Pharmaceuticals has an online pharmacy locator you can use to locate pharmacies in your area that should have your medication in stock if you are taking Dyanavel, Quillivant, or QuilliChew. The website address is: https://pharmacylocator.trisadhd.com/
Atyu Biopharma also has an online pharmacy locator for Adzenys and Cotempla. The website address is: https://cotemplaxrodt.com/ for Cotempla or https://adzenysxrodt.com/ for Adzenys
Ask your doctor or the pharmacist if a similar medication is available. Sometimes there are subtle differences between formulas of different brand names that people might tolerate as well as what they were taking.
Sometimes in a shortage, pharmacists can get approval to compound a medication that isn't available another way.
Call your prescription insurance company. We learned there was a price override that Walgreens didn't know about on buying brand-name Concerta because the generic was not available. Sometimes you can get the insurance company to talk to the pharmacy to lower the price. Sometimes you have to fill out paperwork and get reimbursed for the difference between what you paid for the brand name and what the generic would cost you.
If you can't get the price lowered, check for coupons. GoodRx lets you put in the medication and see what price you would pay at each local pharmacy with a coupon. You can then print out the coupon and bring it to the place that has the medication and is the least expensive.
Check with the manufacturers. Often they have co-pay assistance programs that can get your payment to $5 or zero. You still have to find the medication, though.
Can your doctor provide you with a written prescription so you can submit it to any pharmacy that has your medication in stock?
No- in the past physicians were able to provide patients with written prescriptions for controlled substances but the law no longer allows this. Written prescriptions were convenient in many ways, they gave patients the opportunity to control WHICH pharmacy filled their prescription and WHEN their prescription would be submitted to the pharmacy. Physicians could provide up to 3 separate written prescriptions with earliest fill dates (EFD) for a total of 90 day's worth of medication. Texas law changed in January of 2021, physicians are now required to submit prescriptions for controlled substances electronically to the patient's pharmacy, written prescriptions are unlawful under most circumstances. (Texas Health and Safety Code, §§481.0755)
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