Supply chain disruptions could impact your medicine cabinet as pharmacies face product and drug shortages

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Global supply chain distributions could make it harder for people to get their prescription medications.

Michael Blessman, a pharmacist at Alwan Pharmacy and Compounding Center, joked to his staff about what would happen if they ran out of pill bottles.

“Are we going to be dispensing out of a Ziplock baggie if we run out of vials? We’ve got to get our medication out in something,” said Blessman.

He said the pharmacy is struggling to restock some medications and basic supplies.

“One thing our pharmacy does as well is compounding,” Blessman said. “That’s becoming a more difficult situation there because we use so many things to make products– not only the chemical but things to make the product and to package the product to sell. All of these things are becoming short, and making it difficult to get medication to our customers.”

Blessman said Alwan Pharmacy is allocated certain amounts of pharmaceutical drugs by wholesalers, and right now, shipments are running thin.

“As a small, independent business, we don’t have the buying power of the CVS’s, Walgreens, Walmarts of the world.”

He said his customers have been understanding and remain loyal.

Supply chain experts said one way to avoid product shortages is keeping “safety stock,” or extra inventory. Corey Dolan, owner of Preckshot Pharmacy in Peoria, said this is something he tries to do.

“We usually analyze how much of a supplement we’re going to use, or forecast what might be needed, and so then we order in a big, bulk supply,” said Dolan.

He said Preckshot is stocked up.

“Oh, we usually keep several years of supplies if it does not expire,” Dolan said.

He also said they sometimes pay extra money for air transportation, which can avoid the backlog from cargo ships.

Blessman at Alwan Pharmacy said customers should call 5 to 10 days in advance before picking up medication, so staff can ensure they have what the customer needs.

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