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Local pharmacy sees shortages in two key areas

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Posted at 7:17 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 10:30:41-04

TULSA, Okla. — Pharmacy chains as well as local pharmacies are experiencing issues with hiring staff and obtaining certain drugs. Carefirst Pharmacy in Tulsa is one of them.

Carefirst is locally owned with four locations across the metro. It is a compounding pharmacy so pharmacists are able to create certain medications other pharmacies don't have. But the drug shortage is still impacting what they are able to compound.

Even within our 2 News staff, people have had to search several pharmacies to get the prescriptions they need.

"We're seeing a lot of drug shortages and they come and go. And then some of them are really quick and then they're over and some of them are long term. We have one right now that we do a ton of that's gone at least until next summer. So it's a long term shortage in some cases and we're having to get really creative to find alternatives," said Carefirst pharmacist, Dr. Susan Rooks.

She said she's able to compound most drugs, even if it's not the exact medication, she can still take care of most patients. But said she's concerned it could get worse.

"It gets scary when it's things like injectables or asthma medications or things like that, that you can't get and they're hard to find alternatives to. So we do our best to get people taken care of regardless, but there's definitely been a lot of shortages that we've had to get creative with," said Dr. Rooks.

Besides drug shortages, pharmacies are also having a hard time hiring staff which sometimes helps local pharmacies.

"We've had a lot of people come in and say I tried to go get my prescription filled and they're not even there, there's just a sign on the door. So we kind of go out of our way to help them. We call the physician, get them taken care of, get things transferred when we can just to make sure they get taken care of so they don't go without anything," said Dr. Rooks.

She said she believes one of the reasons the area might be struggling with finding pharmacists is because the pharmacy school in Tulsa closed and the closest one is in Oklahoma City.

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