NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Recent supply chain disruptions are impacting everything from clothes to food, and even trips to the pharmacists. Popular drugs like Adderall, oxycodone and insulin are running low nationwide.
In Tennessee, Steve Beasley said he’s having trouble finding Iron dextran for his iron infusions. “I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place right now – none of the pharmacies around here can get it where they can compound it in-house.”
The FDA currently lists 112 drug shortages on its website. The reasons for the backlogs all vary.
“Some of the companies have discontinued making [iron dextran] for whatever reason,” Beasley said. “I don’t know, it just says manufacturing delays.”
The life-saving drug, Narcan, is also being impacted, with Pfizer’s website listing the availability of its injectable Naloxone formulation as depleted. “A big reason there is a shortage – Pfizer had a manufacturing issue toward the beginning of the year,” explained Tara Schiller, CEO of SoberBuddy.
One group impacted by the shortage is the Opioid Safety and Supply Network (OSSN) Buyer’s Club. The group is the largest source of naloxone distribution directly to affected communities, accounting for 1.3 million doses in 2020 alone.
The OSNN Buyers Club stated they have an exclusive arrangement with Pfizer for the low-cost generic injectable, and while there is not a widespread shortage of the product itself, the shortage specifically affects the programs. As of August 2021, OSNN Buyers Club programs are back-ordered by over a quarter-million doses of naloxone.
This shortage issue is creating a “perfect storm” scenario where overdoses are sky-rocketing, but life-saving medication accessibility is plummeting, explained Schiller. “This group distributes in areas where there is no government infrastructure in purchasing naloxone.”
First responders in Davidson, Cheatham, Robertson, and Sumner County all say they’re good on supply. It’s something Beasley hopes to hear about his iron infusions, and soon.
News 2 reached out to the FDA about shortages and received the following response:
“The FDA is actively monitoring drug availability and we are committed to working with our public health partners, manufacturers and distributors to help mitigate shortages and make help ensure continued patient access to vital safe and effective drugs.“
The supply chain team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center said they are not experiencing supply issues that would impact their patient care.