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Southern Alberta pharmacies experiencing medication shortages: ‘We’re in a scramble’

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Southern Alberta pharmacies are raising the alarm, saying they are experiencing drug shortages and low supply. As Erik Bay tells us, they say their supplier is missing deliveries, which has led to some prescriptions going unfilled – Jan 13, 2022

For more than a week, Lethbridge pharmacy owner Cara Draffin has been missing deliveries from her supplier, McKesson Canada.

She attributes the problems to McKesson switching its delivery to a new company — Ziing Final Mile.

“We knew it was going to be not an easy change, but it turned out to be some days no one would show up or they’d be in town and some people would get delivered to and some people wouldn’t,” Draffin said.

Draffin says that’s created shortages to her store’s medication supplies.

“It was everything. It was our narcotics, it was our regular everyday front shop stuff, our (over the counter), all prescription meds,” she said.

Read more: Truckers warn vaccine mandate at U.S. border could worsen supply chain issues

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Since the delivery problems began, Calgary pharmacist Dan Burton has had issues filling prescriptions, including some that patients can’t afford to miss.

“In addictions, for example, opioid antagonist therapy — people are using these medications to essentially reduce their addictive cravings so they don’t relapse and they don’t go back to the street drugs,” Burton said.

“We’re in a scramble to get patients these medications and if we can’t get them the drug, that is a very real possibility of relapse.”

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From field to fork, farm groups worry Omicron could impact food production across Canada – Jan 7, 2022

The health-care supply chain company issued a statement to Global News on Thursday.

“McKesson Canada, like most businesses, has also been impacted by the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, experiencing growing absenteeism throughout our operations,” a statement from company spokesperson Andrew Forgione reads.

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“We are also currently seeing unprecedented customer ordering volume, including COVID-19 vaccines to support Alberta’s expanded booster program.

Read more: Canada Post warns of delays as Omicron leads to staff shortages

“Unrelated to COVID-19, but similarly challenging to our operations are disruptions caused by the continued state of emergency in British Columbia, internal infrastructure improvement activities including our transition to a new regional transportation partner.”

“While these factors have impacted our ability to serve some of our customers in southern Alberta, we would like to assure our customers that we are working tirelessly to rectify these issues and we will continue to keep them, and public health officials, updated on our progress,” the statement finishes.

Read more: Working group addresses rise in pharmacy robberies in Alberta

It’s progress Burton hopes to see soon.

“Orders from last week still haven’t been properly delivered,” he said.

“It’s still an ongoing issue. It looks like we’re looking towards getting better, but we’re definitely not where we need to be at this point.”

Ziing Final Mile, McKesson’s new delivery company, did not respond to multiple requests from Global News for comment.

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