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Austin pharmacy struggles to stay afloat with drug shortages

Nau's Enfield Drug manager told KVUE before the pandemic they would fill about 100 prescriptions a day. Now, it's between 20 and 30.

AUSTIN, Texas — Pharmacies in Austin, as well as across the nation are experiencing supply shortages. Key drugs are out, and many are scrambling to get their hands on what's available. 

One Austin pharmacy has been hit particularly hard. Nau's Enfield Drug is a local staple – shop that has been around for decades but might have to close its doors.

"We were probably averaging about 100 prescriptions a day," said manager Laura Labay. "I've noticed my fills going down to 20, 30 a day, and that is declining.

It's a significant decrease. If the prescriptions aren't coming in, money is lost. According to Labay, running a pharmacy is expensive, and they're trying to keep up. 

"We've had prescriptions that we can't get the medication," added Labay. "We'll try to go to second and third parties, but sometimes you can't source the medication."

And when customers can't get the medication there, they start inquiring in other pharmacies. 

"There are times when we cannot acquire the medication, so we'll have to transfer that patient," she added. 

Labay said the bad thing is that many of these customers are older, so they're not going to two different pharmacies to get different prescriptions. They'll stick to one. 

Meaning, Labay loses faithful customers. She fears she'll never get them back. 

However, Nau's is not the only pharmacy struggling. 

Dr. Ashley Darling told KVUE pharmacies all over Austin are affected by this supply shortage. 

"I believe there were almost 200 medications with the last time I worked on the FDA website were on backorder or currently low stock," said Darling.

Click here for a list of medications currently low on supply.

Nau's Pharmacist Michael Herrera said if people aren't receiving the prescriptions they need on time, they could end up in the hospital. Many rely on their medication to treat urgent conditions. 

"I needed medication for migraines, and it took three days, you know, and I'm a pharmacist myself and actually work at one, and it still took multiple days," said Darling. 

As pharmacies continue to struggle, Labay hopes this supply shortage doesn't cost her the family business. 

"It's been very, very difficult to stay afloat," Labay added.


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