Doctors and patients face national drug shortage

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Doctors and hospitals across the nation are dealing with a shortage of medications, including chemotherapy drugs used to treat cancer patients.

"We are being effected by the national chemotherapy drug shortage," said Forrest General Pharmacist Kristi Nesler, "as are every hospital and pharmacy in the nation."

So far, Nesler said they have been able to keep up with the demand.

"There are two main reasons for shortages. The first is, manufacturers are not able to produce the product. They have been having problems with their manufacturing plant. Another reason is, when some of the manufacturers decide not to produce a specific product anymore it creates a shortage."

Nesler said because they have multiple producers, the shortage has primarily been with generic brands.

"If one of those producers decides not to market the drug anymore, then that creates a supply versus demand issue."

At least 25 patients are treated daily, between Forrest General's in and out patient facility and Nesler said delaying treatment to accommodate the shortage wouldn't be ideal.

"If we were to come into a situation where we were not able to provide a drug, we would contact the physician and they would make the decision as to whether he wanted to delay therapy or change it."

In the meantime, Doctor's and Pharmacist's at Forrest General have been planning ahead based on anticipated volume.

"We've been able to order our drugs in advance and hopefully we will be able to continue doing that. It just takes more advanced planning than normal."

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