Home Health New report suggests ‘panic buying’ of medications by patients and providers caused drug shortages

New report suggests ‘panic buying’ of medications by patients and providers caused drug shortages

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As a “triple threat,” COVID-19According to a March 2023 Senate report, the flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) epidemic caused a surge in drug-seeking patients in the winter of 2022, pushing the drug shortage to its highest level in five years.

A new report has been published on the cause of the shortage. Milken Public Health Center in Washington DCsuggested that these shortages were caused by individuals and health care providers “panic buying” more drugs than needed in fear and confusion.

“During COVID-19, we faced a unique situation of a pandemic that we as a society had not faced in hundreds of years, and that has exposed some vulnerabilities,” the report said. Co-author and director of the institute, Sarah Wells Kochis, said: During an interview with the Milken Public Health Center, Fox News Digital.

The “three-part fad” caused shortages

The convergence of the novel coronavirus, influenza and respiratory syncytial virus has led to a surge in demand for medicines, according to Milken experts.

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“As the respiratory disease spread across the country, social and news media fueled a frenzy about rising cases and deaths, prompting many households to stockpile.” cold and flu medicine“Imagine the future of the pharmaceutical supply chain to advance U.S. public health,” says Milken’s report.

A new report suggests that recent drug shortages are due to individuals and health workers “panic buying” more than they need during a time of fear and confusion. (St. Petersburg)

“Hospitals, as well as households, began stockpiling these medicines, making it difficult for pharmacies to obtain what they needed to meet local demand,” the report added.

The stockpiles have created local “spot” shortages of Tamiflu (the most popular flu drug in the United States) and albuterol (an asthma drug that opens airways to make breathing easier).

“Social and news media fueled a frenzy about the rising number of infections and deaths.”

Antibiotics such as amoxicillin and augmentin were also in short supply.

“It is generally accepted that antibiotics are often inappropriately prescribed when respiratory viruses become prevalent … although highly effective against infections, bacterial infectionantibiotics are ineffective against viruses,” the report explains.

Stockpiling led to ‘artificial’ shortages

While it may have appeared that the supply chain was not producing enough medicines to deal with the influx of diseases, Milken’s report found that the problem was that consumers were buying more than they actually needed, “man-made.” He said that it was caused by the lack of “target”.

“I think it’s very easy to quickly think that the supply chain has broken down, or that people weren’t doing their part,” Kochis said.

empty pill bottle

The Milken report calls for greater transparency across supply chains, especially in times of crisis, to prevent stockpiles that could cause shortages. (St. Petersburg)

Kochis believes the shortages are due to consumers and health care providers “temporarily stocking up” as the increased demand caught some manufacturers off guard.

“These ‘spot shortages’ have become self-fulfilling prophecies. [information] The more it spread, the more panic buying,” said one of the unnamed experts cited in the report.

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Dr. Shana Johnson, Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Physician in Scottsdale, ArizonaHaving reviewed the Milken report, he is a little skeptical of claims that hospitals and homes stockpile medicines.

“These statements are not supported by any data or references,” she told Fox News Digital.

Communication is the key to prevent stockouts

The Milken report calls for greater transparency across supply chains, especially in times of crisis, to prevent stockpiles that could cause shortages.

“Certain behaviors happen when people panic or don’t trust information,” Kochis told Fox News Digital.

“I think it’s very easy to quickly assume that the supply chain has broken.”

“We need to work on more inclusive communication, not only to those responsible for getting medicines to the dispensary, but even deeper into the communities we serve,” she added. rice field.

The report says that by communicating openly about the true state of supply and demand, distributors and manufacturers can “better inform decisions to release public health stockpiles, facilitate “It can help provide alternative guidance when data is not available.”

It is also important for health care providers and pharmacists to act as “trusted messengers” in the community, the report added.

Using a family doctor instead of a hospital

When the “three-part epidemic” hit communities, many parents took sick children Milken’s report said he went straight to the hospital rather than to a pediatrician, which may have contributed to the drug shortage.

“This was an inefficient and expensive way to get medical care,” the report said.

“If the public health system encouraged patients to go to primary care providers, they would have clear and accurate information about the appropriate level of care and would be able to avoid RSV, influenza, or COVID-19. I would have known how to prepare for and treat the symptoms of

Sick woman at the pharmacy

A new report said it’s important for health care providers and pharmacists to act as “trusted messengers” in the community. (St. Petersburg)

For parents of young children, Kotsis stressed the importance of building trusting relationships with pediatricians to ensure that the right medications are prescribed.

However, Johnson questioned the statement that parents chose to visit a doctor over their primary care doctor, noting that the statement was not supported by references or data.

emergency room sign

Many parents took their sick children to hospitals instead of pediatricians, which may have contributed to drug shortages, according to Milken’s report. (Reuters/Mike Blake)

“In my personal experience at two pediatric offices in Washington and Arizona, pediatricians are particularly good at keeping children out of the ER unless their vital signs are unstable,” she said. told FOX News Digital.

“They had extended hours, special weekend hours, and telemedicine. The message was, ‘Call me,’ and they helped.”

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Overall, Kochis said the appropriate use of resources needs to be considered. across the healthcare system.

“We need to be realistic about where we direct care and let people know where to go when they need it,” she added.

The report emphasized the need for health literacy education to “quell panic buying, prevent artificial shortages, and encourage people to follow best practices during epidemics.”

Experts say the situation is improving

Milken’s Kochis finds the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I think things are improving,” she told Fox News Digital. “I think manufacturers have learned from that experience and are more intentional about anticipating increased demand that might have caught them off guard before. Now they are more prepared.”

“The pandemic has highlighted the fragile links between public health and healthcare supply chain logistics.”

Johnson agreed that some opportunities are emerging from what she calls the “coronavirus chaos.”

“The pandemic has highlighted the fragile links between public health and medical supply chain logistics,” she told Fox News Digital.

“Now is the perfect time Use AI or other strategies To better monitor fluctuations in demand and supply, better anticipate needs, and move towards managing the supply chain as a single, integrated system,” she added.

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He also noted that the pandemic has emphasized the need to provide the public with accurate and reliable information.

“For many people, the source of that information is not the government,” she says. “Healthcare providers without special interests or upcoming elections are better messengers.”


After finishing the report, Kochis said he became more optimistic about the future of the pharmaceutical supply chain.

“We took this matter seriously and worked with various stakeholder representatives to make sure we had representatives for all. It’s especially important when you start thinking,” she said.

“All the leaders I’ve spoken to are deeply committed to doing the right thing.”

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