With cold and flu season in full effect, a lot people are running to pharmacies for medications only to find the shelves are empty. Doctors, too, are seeing a troubling shortage of a lot of drugs, both behind and over the counter.
Pharmacists across the country are reporting low inventory of cold and flu medications as the nation deals with a spike in illness. They say children's medications are particularly tough to find.
"This is simple stuff that shouldn't be backordered but they're either not making enough or they're backlogged. There are just too many people requiring it right now," said Raied Dinno of Keyes Drug in Newton, Massachusetts.
Dinno said his store luckily has some supply, but its going fast. He calls pediatricians daily to let them know what they have in stock.
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It is the only reason why Emily Butler came to Keyes Drug from Sudbury to get amoxicillin for her son's ear infection.
"I was so grateful when [the doctor] told me to come here. I was like, 'Yeah, I don't know where that is but I will go there in a second,'" Butler said.
If parents cannot find the drugs they need, they should call their pediatricians back and ask for alternatives, said Dr. Ali Raja, the vice-chair of the department of emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
"They can change the prescription to a chewable tablet or even a capsule to sprinkle on your kids' food to help you get it in that way," Raja said.
He noted that paper prescriptions are also helpful to have during the shortage.
"We're used to sending electronic prescriptions to a specific pharmacy, but if that pharmacy is out and you don't have a paper prescription to take to another pharmacy down the street, you can be out of luck," Raja said.