Monday, March 31, 2014

A Shortage of Meds in My Country

Today we had to face a new and frightening reality about the state of our health care once again.  After waiting for over 3 years for our town to have actual medical doctors, today we found out that we are now short of some medications....not only here where we live, but nation-wide.

My husband needs B12 injections at least once per month in order to stay on top of his chronic fatigue syndrome.  A month ago he used the last injection here at home and needed to get his prescription filled.  He was shocked last week when the pharmacist told him it had been back ordered for about 10 months and he couldn't fill the prescription.

Then I found some news articles written in the past 2 weeks explaining that a factory in Quebec that manufactures the injectable B12 has been closed for some time as it no longer met the standards required to operate in a medicine producing capacity.  The other factories in Canada have not been able to pick up the slack.  While supposedly a large batch of B12 is to be released this week, there is no guarantee that any of it will reach our little town out here in the prairies.

In desperation, exhaustion building by the minute over the past 2 weeks, my husband went to his physician this afternoon to see if there was any available at the clinic or hospital, but no, there is not.  The only option for my husband and many just like him, is to take the maximum allowed dose of B12 in capsule form (and my husband takes twice as much as that hoping that there will be enough floating around in his system that some will be absorbed) and hope for the best.

As if the lack of availability of a simple injectable like B12 isn't bad enough, the doctor also gave my husband a verbal list of all the other medications Canada is now short of, including some important chemo therapy drugs that many cancer patients need desperately to have.  My husband left the clinic feeling rather shell shocked from the number of meds not available at the moment anywhere in the country and possibly not for a long time to come.  I know that the medication I take for osteoporisis is back ordered, at least the generic version of it is.  Fortunately for me the standard med is still available at twice the cost, but only 55% is covered by our health plan despite having a letter of approval from the provincial government that allows me any coverage of that drug at all.  I am grateful I can afford to pay the difference or I would have no meds for that condition that I personally can take without an allergic reaction.

Today was a learning experience.  We had no idea that the state of our medicine availability in Canada was becoming so desperate and for so many people.  I am very worried about my husband and praying like mad he can manage to handle all his ever growing work load and still find sufficient consecutive hours to rest.  He is going to have to try harder on that one in the coming weeks.

We have been down the road of  my husband's CFS crashes before and I don't feel strong enough to survive another one if that happens to him again.  Thankfully we both know the signs so well that lately, as they have begun to crop up again, we have both been paying attention and making necessary adjustments each week to help my husband cope. Hopefully he can get enough B12 into his system over the next few weeks to avoid a crash.

So glad to find out what is going on here in my own country, the lack of medications available, the number of folk truly suffering as a result.  It is quite shocking and hopefully this situation can be resolved one way or another very soon.

No comments: