‘We turn patients away every day’: Grand Strand pharmacies feel the effects of national drug shortage

Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:47 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 11:01 PM EDT
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SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - If you’ve struggled to fill a crucial prescription at your local pharmacy, you’re not alone.

Grand Strand pharmacies said they’ve been dealing with a drug shortage for years, one pharmacy Ocean Lakes Pharmacy said they can’t accept new clients for certain medications because they barely have enough of those medications to fill current customers’ prescriptions.

“Frustration,” is how one Pharmacist at Ocean Lakes Pharmacy, Jeff Laznik describes the drug shortage.

“We turn patients away every day,” said Laznik. “We get 5-10 phone calls per day of people looking for drugs.”

This shortage isn’t new, in fact, Laznik said it’s been happening for several years.

”We’ve been experiencing shortages since COVID, the pandemic,” said Laznik. “With the supply chain issue problems, manufacturing problems, and raw ingredient problems it’s just been tough getting pharmaceuticals.”

Because of the variety of medications that are in short supply, it’s affecting all age ranges.

“It impacts really everyone,” said Laznik. “Kids, the whole way through adults.”

A Surfside Beach resident and Marine Veteran, Nelson Kari takes several medications. Without some of his prescriptions, he could die.

“If I didn’t have it (prescriptions) and couldn’t get it,” said Kari, “I could end up stroking out and I wouldn’t even know what’s going to happen.”

Laznik explained that if a prescription was out, pharmacists would move people to a similar medication that was in stock, but now that’s creating a ripple effect of shortages. He said something needs to be done.

“Going forward, I hope the FDA gets involved and helps the manufacturers pump out more product,” said Laznik.

Pharmacists said the best thing you can do if you can’t find your prescription locally is to work with your doctor to see if a similar medication is in stock and call around to other pharmacies for what you need.