Local pharmacy owner talks medical equipment, medication issues amid coronavirus spread

The Food and Drug Administration was alerted to the first drug shortage linked to the coronavirus, and declined to identify the drug, but some people are now wondering whether drug shortages will become a bigger issue.

The FDA says this shortage is related to a manufacturing site in China due to the country being the manufacturing site for a number of drugs, medical devices and equipment -- and many factories aren't operating at full capacity.

A valley pharmacist we spoke with says there's no reason to panic, though, as the FDA is working with other manufacturers to fill the shortage.

Rosy Vallin, owner of Rosy's Pharmacy in Phoenix, says her distributors are keeping her informed daily about any potential problems. "We're looking at further away, in the few months there could be a shortage, but at this time everything is looking good, at least for us."

Vallin says many products coming from places like China are typically just one piece to the pharmaceutical puzzle, she says the good news is there are many alternatives.

"A lot of people think that the final product is made in China, and that's not necessarily the case. Some, probably very few products are made 100% in China, but what's made there is the active ingredient, the bulk product."

So now is not the time to panic, she says. Her biggest issue currently is keeping masks and hand sanitizer on her shelves, and not filling prescriptions, as one may think.

"Do keep an eye on your prescription medications especially if you have diabetes, high blood pressure all of those key ones, but don't try to come and get a six months supply or a years worth of medication because first of all your insurance isn't going to pay for it and then if we're having trouble getting some medications then you're hindering those people who might really be running out to be without their prescription medication," she explains.

So far, no other companies have reported a shortage on medications.