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Wear The Gown: Answering your questions about drug shortages

Hydroxychloroquine has been touted as a treatment for coronavirus, but experts say it is unproven. Many who need it worry they won't be able to get it.

SAN ANTONIO — With several drugs being touted as possible treatments for coronavirus, many are afraid they may run out of a drug they currently take for a medical condition. In tonight's Wear The Gown we take your questions about drug shortages to the experts.

To answer your questions we turn to Elliott Mandell, a Senior Vice President and Chief Pharmacy Officer for University Health System. 

Should we be concerned about drug shortages? 

"Any medication mentioned in anyway possible for a treatment protocol has been under allocation ever since the pandemic started."

Why is this happening and what are we telling patients?

"Part of this is fear. Everybody is trying to get a reserve of medication so that everyone is getting their inhalers prescriptions filled whether they need them or not. We have prescriptions now that have been a 90 day prescription with 90 day refills now limited by law to only a 30 day fill at one time."

What do you see as solutions for patients relying on some of these scarce medications?

"Rely on your pharmacist. Your pharmacist knows what's available they know what therapeutic drugs would have the same affect in the same class of drugs. It might be as simple as working with your healthcare provider and changing from a brand-name to a generic or another drug in the class or another drug in a similar therapeutic class that has the same pharmacological effect."

There's been a lot of talk about hydroxychloroquine being a treatment for COVID-19. What do we know about that?

"There have been small studies that have shown it's been effective, and there have been other small studies that have shown it is not effective. So we don't really know yet about how effective it will be." 

For more information about family health call 210-358-3045. You can also find the rest of Wear The Gown stories, just go to WearTheGown.com.

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