Future pharmacists prepare for medication shortages

The University of Findlay is teaching students how to deal with medication shortages through a holistic perspective.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 7:43 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The combination of COVID-19, RSV, and the flu is creating medication shortages. Antibiotics like amoxicillin and over-the-counter children’s medications are in high-demand. A local pharmacy program is teaching its students how to meet that demand, even when supply is low.

“We have been seeing so many prescription medication shortages across the country. A lot of it has to do with supply and demand. Demand is up. We have a “trippledemic” between RSV, influenza, and we still have COVID-19 that we’re dealing with,” said University of Findlay College of Pharmacy Dean Debra Parker. “Couple that with the fact that the past several years we’ve had multiple natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, the workforce and the ability to manufacture drugs in a timely manner and deliver them to those who need it has really been impacted.”

At the University of Findlay, students are being taught to deal with medication shortages through a holistic perspective.

“When we don’t have something in stock and when we’re dealing with drug shortages, we teach our students how to pick another medication that is very similar and may act similar that is still safe with our patients,” said Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice Rachel Kahle. “They analyze the patient as a whole -- not just that disease state. We look at their whole picture to best recommend the best product.”

Pharmacy student Francesca Sterrella says learning to talk to patients about medication shortages or other complications is one of the most important parts of her education.

“When people come into a community pharmacy, they’re generally sick or getting sick. They don’t come in happy and ready to go. A lot of people don’t want to be taking medications. So, you have to help these people understand why,” Sterrella said. “We’re there to help them understand why they’re getting it or just picking out what’s best for them.”

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