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Staffing shortages at pharmacies cause prescription delays

Staffing shortages at pharmacies cause prescription delays

Some pharmacies in Colorado are experiencing a shortage in staffing. It’s causing some locations to close early and delay prescriptions and appointments.

DENVER — Customers at some pharmacies are experiencing longer-than-normal wait times as the industry deals with pharmacy technician staffing shortages.

“It is a bit of a perfect storm,” Colorado Pharmacists Society Executive Director Emily Zadvorny said.

It’s a storm prompting new messages posted outside the doors of some Walgreens locations as customers arrive, informing them of the new changes.

“We’re facing unprecedented times in healthcare in general, and in the pharmacy profession it’s no different. There’s a lot of stress on our healthcare professionals. We’re seeing shortages of healthcare professionals across the board, and again, the same in pharmacy,” Zadvorny said.

She called these times chaotic as pharmacies try to keep up with demand administering COVID vaccines and flu shots, all while filling prescriptions.

“Unfortunately, I think we all think we would be in a little different position with where the pandemic is right now,” she said.

Customers like Raymond Gramazio feels the brunt of that chaos.

“For the past, I would say about a month, it’s been really bad. It seems like we get bounced around from Walgreens all the way down in Aurora to here. And sometimes it takes days, even weeks to get prescriptions filled,” Gramazio said.

Thursday, Gramazio waited 30 minutes for four prescriptions for his wife and son.

“Now I have to plan out 45 minutes to an hour to pick up prescriptions that used to take 15 to 20 minutes. Now I have to cut out a chunk of my day to do this,” Gramazio said.

Some customers got out of line and decided to return later due to the extended wait. 

Right now, pharmacies are the leading provider of more 70% of COVID vaccines on the market.

“If we can’t staff adequately and get patients their basic needs met with medications and vaccinations with the appropriate staff and coverage, then that pharmacy cannot operate safely,” Zadvorny said.

It’s not a widespread problem, but it’s one that some Coloradans are dealing with.

Pharmacists recommend checking with your primary care doctor if you can’t get an appointment at a pharmacy right away.

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