Pharmacies in the United States are struggling with shortages of medications that are essential to patients’ health, but even some of the country’s top drug makers say they don’t have enough supplies of essential drugs for the volume needed to treat an array of ailments.
In the meantime, many of the nation’s top pharmacies are trying to meet the demand of the patients who are forced to wait months for prescriptions to get filled, a problem that is costing patients money and putting them at greater risk for long-term health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Pharmacy companies are responding by offering cheaper generic versions of prescription drugs, which they say will help them get more of their medicines to their customers.
They also are adding online ordering and payment options to help consumers make better-informed decisions about their medicines.
But some consumers say they are still waiting for their pills.
“I’m sick and tired of paying money for something that’s not really there,” said Mary Ann Lechner, who works in the food service industry in Atlanta.
“I’m not going to have any more medication if I don’t buy it at a pharmacy.”
Lechner is among thousands of Americans who have been unable to get their prescriptions filled at some of America’s top pharmacy chains, which include Rite Aid and Walgreens.
In an email to the AP, Walgops said it was working with its pharmacy partners to increase the number of pharmacists in stores and provide the most accessible pharmacy possible for patients.
Rite Aid said it has made several changes to improve pharmacy access in recent months.
“We are committed to expanding the number and quality of pharmacy professionals in our stores and are making great progress on this front,” said spokesman Steve Kohn.
The problem is especially acute for patients with chronic illnesses who are often uninsured and who are likely to be reluctant to go to a pharmacy with an inadequate supply of prescription medications, according to experts.
They say that if patients don’t feel comfortable using a pharmacy, they are less likely to get medication, which leads to higher prices for patients and less time to seek care, even when they need to.
The opioid epidemic has also taken a toll on the supply of drugs in pharmacies, which is also one of the biggest contributors to costs.
The drug companies that make drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin and Suboxone are struggling to compete with generic versions and have been hit hard by the downturn in the U.S. economy, which has hurt their bottom lines.
The National Association of Pharmacy Executives said it estimates that the U and Canadian governments paid more than $1 billion to manufacturers for their drugs, while consumers were billed $2 billion in the form of higher prescription drug costs.
In the United Kingdom, there is widespread concern about the rise in prescription drug prices, especially in the country where the pharmaceutical industry is one of its largest employers.
A pharmacy is an integral part of the U, Canadian and U.K. economies, and many U.s. residents rely on it to get access to the medicines they need.
But for patients, pharmacies have become a big barrier to their medicine and the money they need, said Dr. Anthony M. Zaccone, a professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
“There are more people with chronic diseases and other conditions who need these medications now, and they’re not getting the medications they need because pharmacies are the place they go to get the medications,” Zaccany said.
“The pharmacies that are going to be a big part of a lot of these problems are the ones that are the least efficient.”
The shortages are being exacerbated by the opioid epidemic, which saw a rise in overdose deaths in the months after President Donald Trump signed the opioid bill into law in May.
The bill included a $1.9 billion infusion of funding for drug makers to help them meet the growing demand, but it has not been fully implemented.
A federal judge in Ohio has halted the program in the face of a lawsuit from the drug makers and a lawsuit by a patient’s family who said the money was too low.
The American Pharmacists Association, which represents about 5,000 pharmacy leaders and employees, has called for the infusion of $10 billion.
It is a proposal that has been endorsed by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, but the White House has refused to consider it.
In addition, the Food and Drug Administration has also said it is considering the creation of a new program to pay drug manufacturers for the prescription drugs they produce.
The Food and Drugs Administration has the authority to fund the program, but not to approve or deny it, the agency said.
Pharmacists, who are charged with distributing and dispensing drugs to patients, have been scrambling to meet that demand.
Many pharmacists say they have no choice but to try to find the best prices.
They often go to pharmacies that specialize in certain products, including cough medicine, or they can ask to