Valley pharmacies and hospitals facing major medication shortage
Pharmacies and hospitals across the Rio Grande Valley are seeing a shortage of hundreds of different medications.
Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez says this is the worst medication shortage he’s seen in nearly 40 years.
“We have approximately 305 medications that have been placed on the CDC shortage medication list,” Melendez said. “Everything from antibiotics, cancer treatments, anesthetic agents, to the use of things in the operating room."
Distribution, quality, and order issues all play a part in the drug shortages.
Pharmacist Michael Sander, owner of Sander Pharmacy in Weslaco, said he’s been experiencing the shortage since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr. Melendez is warning the public against crossing the border for medication.
“The quality control isn't the way it is here,” Melendez said. “There is a danger of purity, danger of being the appropriate medication, and we've seen patients that have been given a recommendation by a pharmacist in Mexico — those recommendations are completely inappropriate and put people at risk and danger."
Doctors recommend trying as many pharmacies and hospitals as possible in the US before making the decision to cross the border.
Sanders says if he doesn’t see improvement soon, it could be detrimental to patients.
“When you kind of think about it, what would happen if we couldn't get different insulin for a couple of months,” Sanders said. “Some people would die."
Until the shortage passes, doctors and pharmacist say they try to prescribe substitutions to make up for the losses.
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