Recent drug shortages are producing varied effects on local pharmacies.
Though hospital pharmacies are experiencing limited supplies of some in-patient injectable medications, over-the-counter drug stores are still able to provide their customers with the medications they need, in most cases.
“From time to time we do have shortages, but usually we figure our way around it,” said Tahlequah Medical Center Pharmacy Manager David Wilkerson. “If it’s something that there’s an alternative for that will do the same thing, then it’s going to get switched, but if it’s something that they have to have, we’ll go above and beyond to figure out where do we go to get it. It’s usually one of the hospitals where I end up having to get my stuff, through Hastings or through the city.”
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there were more than 200 drug shortages reported during 2011. These shortages, which began in 2006, arrived without warning and effected a wide range of treatment options for a variety of symptoms and illnesses from nausea and vomiting, infections, severe allergic reactions to cancer.
The shortage of a short-acting, intravenously administered hypnotic agent known as Propofol, which is used for general anesthesia, was the first major shortage experienced in hospital settings, but the problem has been corrected, said Hastings Hospital Director of Pharmacy Dr. Brandon Taylor.
“That one, by and large, has been resolved,” said Taylor. “That was the one that really got the ball rolling for us. “
The FDA released a report on information provided voluntarily by drug manufacturers that indicates shortages were due, in part, to product quality and Good Manufacturing Practices issues discovered during the processing like finding particles, microbial contamination and impurities in the final product.
Manufacturing delay and capacity issues, as well as drugmakers deciding to discontinue production of certain products have also impacted drug supplies. A small percentage is due to shortages of the raw materials, or active ingredients, used to make certain drugs.
“When some manufacturers had manufacturing problems and could not supply product, this caused other manufacturers to have to pick up the slack,” said Tahlequah City Hospital Director of Pharmacy Ray Potts “So [a certain percentage of the shortage is] due to increased demand for their products.”
Compazine, also known as Prochlorperazine, is an effective treatment for nausea and vomiting, but is unavailable due to this situation.
“Often, these shortages have occurred without warning and have required hospitals, including Tahlequah City Hospital, to take extra efforts to keep supplied with the medications involved,” he said.
Though persons receiving medical care under in-patient conditions have been impacted by these shortages, outpatient or over-the-counter needs have not been significantly affected.
“By and large, that’s true,” said Taylor.
The shortage effects experienced in drugstore settings have impacted pricing on some children’s medications.
“Mainly for some of your ADHD meds for children, but now that’s resolved, even though the price has increased about a tenfold,” said Wilkerson. “Maybe not quite that much, but it has increased tremendously. Some of them went from $30-something a bottle to $130-something for a bottle. Other than that, recently, I think they’ve pretty much resolved things. Every now and then something’s backordered. If they backorder something, the manufacturer usually gets it resolved pretty quick.”
Shortages of some over-the-counter products are due to product recall.
“Voltaren gel is an anti-inflammatory topical cream that they use for arthritis-type pain in the joints and it’s something a lot of our osteo doctors here in town like to write [prescriptions for] a lot and it was pretty much recalled,” Wilkerson said.
“It wasn’t necessarily a problem with that drug. It was with a drug that the same company makes. So because of that they had to pull all of their products. So I think that went the same way with Excedrin, the over-the-counter migraine medicine. That happened not long ago, and truthfully I don’t even know if that’s available now.
“I still don’t have one bottle of Excedrin on my shelves. Some generic finally came in last week, but as far as I know, [Excedrin] is not even available.”
To review current drug shortages and other related information, go to the FDA’s website at www.fda.gov and click on the tab option labeled “Drugs” or locate “Spotlight” on the same page and click on “Drug shortages.”
Recent drug shortages are producing varied effects on local pharmacies.
- Local News
Third Thursday Art Walk
Shoppers will have a chance to visit downtown merchants in the evening during the Tahlequah Main Street Association’s first Third Thursday Art Walk and After Party on Thursday, March 20.
Participating downtown businesses will keep their doors open to offer specials until 8 p.m., and artists will display their work at different locations. Art exhibitors, including the Cherokee Art Center’s Spider Gallery, will stay open late.
Sex offender bill reaches House
By a unanimous 44-0 vote of the Oklahoma Senate, a bill that would make it more difficult for registered sex offenders to change their names has reached the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Senate Bill 1421, authored by Kyle Loveless, Oklahoma City Republican, underwent its first reading in the House on Feb. 27.
Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said he did not know of any instances, during his service with the department, of registered sex offenders evading detection with new names for any length of time.
SB 1497 may aid transparency
Government transparency advocates were pleased, and some were surprised, when a proposed bill designed to strengthen Oklahoma’s Open Meetings Act passed the Senate Judicial Committee recently.
Senate Bill 1497, by Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, would allow citizens who are denied access to public meetings to bring civil lawsuits, and if the court rules in favor, to collect attorney’s fees. A continuing resolution has already been filed.
Should the legislation pass into law, it would become effective Nov. 1 this year.
Moulton: Sovereignty is John Ross’ legacy
When describing the Cherokee people, the words “well-educated” and “independent” may come to mind. Those attributes were principles held most dear by John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokees from 1828-1866.
Dr. Gary Moulton, University of Nebraska Thomas C. Sorensen emeritus professor of American history, discussed Ross’ history during a presentation at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center Thursday. The event was organized by the history department at Northeastern State University.
The bear facts
A joint project linking two state agencies with researchers at Oklahoma State University is gathering the “bear facts” on a growing population in the northeastern part of the state.
A six-year study on black bears in Cherokee, Adair and Sequoyah counties is being conducted as a precursor to possible establishment of a controlled hunting season in Green Country. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management of Oklahoma State University have partnered for the endeavor.
Drug task force seizes K2 at a Tahlequah house
The District 27 Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force seized between $200 and $300 worth of synthetic drugs during a bust Friday.
The Tahlequah Police Department and the Cherokee Nation Marshal Service were also in on the raid. Members of the task force hope the seizure will aid in an ongoing investigation to find larger suppliers.
“We received information that sales were being made from a residence off Choctaw Street,” said Michael Moore, task force director. “Further investigation led to a state search warrant based on the federal Schedule I list of drugs.”
Citizens can report sight obstructions to city
On Feb. 25-26, the Tahlequah Fire Department responded to motor vehicle accidents at South Muskogee Avenue and South Street, and since that time, a few citizens have expressed concern about the sight lines at the intersection.
A visit to the intersection showed that, for traffic westbound on South, the view south down Muskogee is partially obstructed by shrubbery and a tree that appear to be on private property.
Spears: OSRC should help boost business
In a little over 25 years, Arrowhead Resort owner Jack Spears has grown his business from being the smallest float operator on the Illinois River to the second-largest, and he’d like to continue on that path.
Spears believes tourism is vital to the Tahlequah area. He says if the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission would eliminate a zoning issue along the river, both the agency and his own business would reap the benefits.
Spears recently asked the OSRC to consider doing away with recreational floating zones. Commercial flotation device licenses are granted to operators in each area for a total of 3,900 licenses.
Last-place swine earns top sale bid
Local businessmen drew regional attention through a record-setting bid of $10,000 at the Cherokee County Spring Livestock Show last Saturday, but now they say they don’t want the recognition.
The annual show, which ends with a premium sale featuring top winners, is a fundraiser for local FFA and 4-H participants. Proceeds help cover the animals’ expenses or are used for future projects or showings. Community members, organizations and businesses bid on the livestock, but it is not a purchase. The children showing get to keep their animals.
Hulbert man involved in standoff didn’t own illegal guns
Further investigation into the Friday standoff between a Hulbert man and law enforcement has not yet produced any weapons charges.
A search warrant executed after the incident uncovered several firearms inside the trailer in which Michael Wyatt Earp, 42, was living. Law enforcement officers and agents were concerned that some weapons were fully automatic.
- More Local News Headlines
- Third Thursday Art Walk