Labor shortage affects local pharmacies

ELKHART, Ind — The nationwide worker shortage amid the pandemic has hit many businesses hard and the pharmacies here in Michiana are no exception. The shortages have cut hours and caused delays at the stores many depend on to get their prescriptions filled.

“I have a lot of pharmacist friends and I know every pharmacist tries to do their best, it’s just a shame that there aren’t enough hands to do their best,” said Ray Kadi, pharmacist at University Commons Pharmacy.

Kadi said they had been able to deal with the shortage of workers, but he said some of the larger chains have been hit much harder, with his pharmacy seeing a recent influx of patients transferring their prescriptions due to delays.

“We transfer two to three profiles from other pharmacies on a daily basis and the main reason they tell us is that they are waiting for their prescriptions or no one is answering their phone calls or when they call with a question, no one is picking up. things like that. Kadi explained.

According to the National Community Pharmacists Association, 80% of pharmacies nationwide have struggled to fill vacancies and 60% do not have enough staff to manage records, leading some pharmacies to push back pickup times. customers or to operate with reduced hours. .

One factor that could have impacted an Elkhart resident, whose identity we have kept a secret, who took to Facebook to express her frustration as she sought to have a prescription filled for her 94-year-old mother. years at the CVS pharmacy on rue Nappanee.

“When you have a patient who has been waiting a long time in another pharmacy because of their shortage and they come here and we want to move their medications here. Sometimes it takes us three days and sometimes you call these pharmacies and you’re on hold for an hour without anyone picking up and it takes time on our side, ”Kadi said.

Kadi also said labor shortages aren’t the only thing causing problems for pharmacists. The rise in COVID-19 tests, vaccines and even the surge in influenza vaccines are all contributing factors.

“Giving a vaccine, whether it’s COVID or the flu, takes longer than filling a prescription for amoxicillin, so there are certain places in the pharmacy that only pharmacists can do and so if pharmacists are linked to COVID, a COVID vaccine can consume up to, say, 10 minutes of the pharmacist’s time, ”Kadi added.

CVS has already announced a hiring drive to recruit tens of thousands of additional workers across the country to cut long lines and help frustrated customers. We have also reached out to the company for comment, but have yet to hear of this customer’s concerns at their Nappanee Street location.

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