There are so many drug products on back-order or limited supply right now that working in a pharmacy can feel like a scavenger hunt, especially when we're asked to keep inventories down and don't have a lot of 'cushion' to work with. I hate having to bounce people around on different generic manufacturers of the same drug because the one they got before is unavailable. If all forms of the drug are totally unavailable we have to track down the prescriber for an alternate --- but if the person doesn't want an alternate ("Midrin generic is the ONLY thing that works for my headaches -- would anyone else have it?") --- well, I'll make a couple of calls but after the second or third "no" I've got to give the prescription back and send them out to continue the search on their own. I swear I'm spending so much time trying to find a solution to these problems -- calling other stores, scouring the wholesaler's listings for SOMETHING --- it almost requires a full-time person right now. And it's not just prescription drugs; a lot of OTC's are affected too (PanOxyl soap?? -- really??).
We can't get the 5mg tablets ---- but hey, I can instruct the customer to split the 10mg tablets, right? Problem solved. Uhhhh..... not so fast. Customer calls the next day and swears that those half-tablets made her deathly ill. Every fiber of my being wants to protest --- "but, there's NO reason in the WORLD why that should happen !! It's the same thing !!! It's the............." ------------- oh, never mind. As Charlie Brown would say, AAUUUUGHHH.
I've got enough problems without this.
One that has hit us hard is the generic Adderall shortage --- unfortunately this medication is HUGE in one area where I work. The XR capsules have been unavailable for awhile and now the regular generic tablets are starting to go too. We can get brand name Adderall XR but of course people are charged the brand name copay (which they love) if we can get it to go through at all. Or, the insurance lets us fill the brand name but doesn't reimburse us for it.
Just as an aside here, the stuff is way overprescribed. There, I said it. I know there are kids who have seen their school and reading performance greatly improve because of it, and that is good, but I cannot believe that all the kids and adults we have on this drug truly have attention deficit disorder. Apparently it's quite popular amongst the college set if you need to pull an all-nighter. People become so casual about it. Parents call in because their kid has run out, knowing full well the prescription is not technically refillable, and the doctor needs to write and sign a new one each time. I am of the opinion that Adderall is not an emergency. I even had one parent say "yeah, I know it's a controlled substance and blah-blah-blah." (YES, she actually SAID "blah-blah-blah"). Sorry to inconvenience you with these pesky DEA rules, ma'am.
But I digress. I know we shouldn't whine too much, because here in the USA we are lucky to have access to pharmaceuticals, and if we can't get one there are usually plenty of suitable alternates. If you come down with pneumonia, or kidney stones, or a migraine, or gout --- well, in many other parts of the world you're just SOL.
But damn, I hope that generic Adderall is back soon... so I can concentrate (!?) on the more relevant parts of my job again.