Supply chain issues rupture medicine pickups; customers worry

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Some people have been struggling to get  of their medications.

Footage taken from one Bowling Green Walgreens last week shows a line wrapped almost all the way around the pharmacy.

Inside the store, workers closed all the windows leading to the pharmacy. 

There were signs taped up saying due to a staffing shortage, the store had cancelled all vaccine appointments and people could only pick up their medicines from the drive through windows.

“I’ve been here for about an hour now just getting my daughters inhaler. It’s my third time here today… She has asthma, and I’ve been here three times today day. I’ve been here yesterday. Extremely long lines, and people with asthma need their medicine,” said one Walgreens customer. 

“I have to take my medication in like an hour. I have to take it daily around the same time, or it’s not effective. I think I’ve moved may be a foot since we’ve been here,” another customer said.

“I’m contemplating whether I should just head home and try to come back later, but my son really needs his meds,” said a third customer.

One pain management doctor said that the staffing shortage is only one knot in the coiled supply chain.

Center for Pain Management Dr. Ram Pasupuleti said pill manufacturers don’t get the raw materials to make pills like oxycodone due to a workforce shortage. 

“They are not able to produce enough oxycodone,” said Pasupuleti. “The problem is starting there. And then whatever amount of oxycodone they are producing is not able to be transported, because of the lack of truckers. Everything is feeding into it. Then, when it is getting to the pharmacies, there’s not enough staff to handle that.”

Paspuleti went on to say he gets calls every single day from his patients who say they can’t get a hold of their medicines… a serious problem for people on pain medication.

“It’s more than one problem if they miss their dose. One, their pain is worse. Then, they can have withdrawal symptoms which is not there with another pill that they miss,” he said.