Posts Tagged ‘drug shortage’

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – My husband has Type 2 diabetes which runs in his family. And now the drug he needs to fight this disease is in short supply due in part to off-label use as a weight loss drug.

His medication is currently “on back order” and we are hoping he doesn’t run out before his refill is available to be processed by the pharmacy. If it does, his blood sugar will rise which creates a multitude of potentially serious problems.

He works extremely hard to control his diabetes; he exercises daily; he watches his diet, sees a nutritionist that specializes in diabetes management and has lost nearly 45 pounds by doing this over the past three years. He monitors his blood sugar throughout the day and his endocrinologist has called him an “ideal diabetes patient.”

Yet now he can’t get his medication because of this off-label use and supply chain issues. Both Ozempic and Wegovy are being used for weight loss. Even Elon Musk has boasted of using Wegovy to help his recent weight loss.

Because my husband monitors his blood sugar throughout the day his doctors also recommended one of those scanner things where you just scan this implanted device with your phone and it records your numbers which also makes it simple to provide to your doctor, but neither of his two insurance companies (including TriCare) will pay for that. So he continues to stick his finger.

It’s not that I’m trying to share all of his medical business, but I just find all this very troubling. I know there have been many times when off-label use of a drug has been beneficial; I don’t have a problem with that. But it just really troubles me that we can’t, in this country, stay on top of providing life saving medications to those who need it.

My husband has a touch of conspiracy-theorist in him; he swears that there is probably a cure for diabetes, but it is a billion-dollar industry and big pharma doesn’t want that known. I don’t know about that but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Obesity is a major problem in this country and if this drug helps with that so much the better. We all know that there will be abuse though by people who simply lack the discipline to manage weight loss. That’s not always the case of course, but those people are out there.

Frankly, I’m over all this supply chain conflagration. I’m tired of shortages, of bare shelves at the grocery store, and of rising prices because of it all. I paid nearly $5 for a dozen eggs last week – what’s up with that?!  And at the post office today, one worker. “Nobody wants to come to work!” she said. The line was out the door with people trying to mail holiday packages, and only one employee in the entire post office.

I’m not sure what the answer to all this is, but I have a few ideas.