Shannon Christian

In this weekly blog, staff reporter Shannon Christian writes about the myths of healthcare and how it impacts students.

Dr. Germ: missing medication

Medications can be prescribed for daily, weekly, or monthly use. Depending on the condition that the medication aims to treat or supplement, medication dosage can have a significant impact on daily life. Being unable to receive or take medication in a smaller dosage can be dangerous for many who depend on medication daily. 

Following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain medications have been in limited supply, leading to shortages across the nation. These shortages can be attributed to the interruption of the supply chain, limited parallel trading of medications, and even the higher demand for certain medications. 

Due to source materials and manufacturing for medications taking place in other countries, transporting medications and having them available for prescription and purchase has become a harder task to complete. The price of medications like those used in chemotherapy have increased, as their supply is even more limited than those medications stored in pharmacies. 

COVID-19’s prevalence caused many people’s immune systems to become skewed: some contracting the virus multiple times, while others isolated themselves, causing higher susceptibility to viruses like influenza and infections such as strep throat and C. auris. This pressure on medications to be produced at a higher rate, when restrictions from the Food and Drug Administration are tightening based on telehealth and in-person visits, has caused a strain on the pharmaceutical industry. 

Adderall and amphetamine/dextroamphetamine salts are also experiencing a shortage, which began in October of 2022. Adderall is a stimulant taken for ADHD but has also been recognized as a drug used recreationally on many college campuses, which is prevalent among many students. The saturation in which Adderall is concentrated in the United States raises concern about addiction due to the high demand resulting in shortages across the country.

As these shortages of medications continue, the Food and Drug Administration should find alternative solutions to providing life-saving and supportive medications to those in need of them. Restricting prescriptions and adding restrictions on pharmaceuticals can have adverse effects, as seen in combating opioid addiction when patients in dire need of medication were not able to receive medication.

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