Navigating Drug Shortages: Tips for Finding the Medication You Need

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Facing a shortage of your essential medication can be stressful. But with planning and proactive steps, you can increase your chances of getting the medication you need. Here’s a short guide based on an article from

1. Plan Ahead and Stay Informed:

  • Reorder Early: Don’t wait until the last minute to refill your prescription. Give yourself extra time, especially if you know your medication is prone to shortages.
  • Check Availability: Stay informed about potential shortages by regularly checking databases like the FDA’s Drug Shortages Database and the ASHP Drug Shortages Database.

2. Explore Independent Pharmacies:

  • Local Knowledge: Independent pharmacies often have more flexibility in sourcing medications and may be able to locate what you need even when large chains are out of stock.
  • Personalized Service: Pharmacists at independent pharmacies often have more time to dedicate to your specific needs and can act as your advocate in finding alternatives.

3. Communicate with Your Doctor and Insurance:

  • Discuss Alternatives: If your specific medication is unavailable, work with your doctor to explore alternative brands, dosages, or even different medications within the same class.
  • Negotiate with Insurance: Explain your situation to your insurance company and request temporary coverage for an alternative medication not on their formulary.

4. Exhaust Pharmacy Options:

  • Check Multiple Locations: Ask your chain pharmacy if they can check inventory at other local stores.
  • Consider Independent Pharmacies: As mentioned earlier, independent pharmacies may have access to different supply lines and may be more willing to go the extra mile.

5. Seek Help from Angels for Change:

  • Last Resort: If you’ve exhausted all other options, consider contacting Angels for Change. They can help identify supply chains, contact manufacturers, and advocate for patients facing medication shortages.

Important Reminders:

  • Avoid Online Pharmacies: Ordering medications online, especially from unknown sources, is risky. You can’t guarantee the medication’s quality or authenticity, and you might be vulnerable to price gouging.
  • Always Consult Your Doctor: This guide is for informational purposes only. Never change your medication regimen without consulting your healthcare provider.

By following these steps and staying informed, you can navigate drug shortages with greater ease and ensure you receive the medication you need.


Keren Landman, M. (2024) Is your medication out of stock? here’s how to get it anyway., Vox. Available at: (Accessed: 06 February 2024).