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Mid-Missouri hospitals, pharmacies deal with antibiotic shortage

As flu season continues, representatives from MU Health Care and Boone Hospital said they’re seeing a larger demand for antibiotics.

As a result, some local pharmacies are struggling to keep them in stock.

Kilgore's Medical Pharmacy is one of three Columbia pharmacies experiencing shortages. The pharmacist in charge at Kilgore’s said for the past month, amoxicillin hasn’t been staying on the shelves for long.

“That shortage has led to shortages of other antibiotics,” Bill Morrissey, lead pharmacist, said. “Because when that one's not available, the doctor switches to a different one, and then we run out of that one also.”

The pharmacy and MU Health says the capsule form of amoxicillin isn’t experiencing a shortage. But because most children younger than age of 12 struggle swallowing pills, parents turn to the “oral suspension” form of the drug.

It’s not quite as liquid as a syrup, but is easier for younger children to swallow. 

“You have parents who just want to take care of their kiddos,” Morrissey said. “Being a parent, I fully understand that you want to, you know, in your mind do everything you can for your child. So we try to find it, call other pharmacies even if it's not a Kilgore pharmacy and try to find it for them.”

This year, three respiratory illnesses have hit the nation– influenza, RSV and COVID-19. The demand for antibiotics has followed a similar spread, reaching across most of Missouri. The Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted a photo of nearly empty pharmacy shelves on Monday.

Because of the shortages, pharmacists have to get “creative,” Morrissey said. Switching to other types of antibiotics or using the powder inside capsules, the pharmacy has made due with its lack of amoxicillin. For those who can’t find a specific kind of medicine he said you should still ask.

“It's not like there's only one antibiotic in the world,” Morrissey added. “Just ask questions and ask them to try to help you find a solution because that's what we're here for.”

A representative from the Missouri Department of Health said shortages like these usually happen at the manufacturer's level. Kilgore’s added the pharmacy got a new shipment of amoxicillin Friday afternoon.

Article Topic Follows: Top Stories
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Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
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Abby Landwehr


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