Local women dealing with delays, issues with pharmacy due to pandemic

SOUTHERN OREGON –  “I’m elderly, and I just… I’m going to start bringing my chair.”

“I’m afraid to get my medicine because I’ll have to wait in line.”

Two Klamath Falls women, Christine Reynolds, and another who wishes to remain anonymous, say the wait to pick up their prescriptions has been anywhere between 1 and 3 hours long.

Reynolds says customer service at her pharmacy has also been less than quality.

“You’re trying to contact the business and they keep hanging up on you and it’s like, wow, what do I do? Do I call again to get hung up on or do I go there where they won’t see me?” she said.

Each woman says they need multiple prescriptions for their ailments, some more time sensitive than others.

“I have high blood pressure, I have anxiety, I have to have my narcotics.”

The problem facing pharmacies are staffing shortages, supply chain issues, as well as insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers charging small local pharmacies high prices.

The issue with insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers has been addressed by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, who proposed new legislation last fall that would stop them from charging additional fees after the point of sale – which has forced many local pharmacies to close shop.

“All of these pharmacies fees have got to be applied at the point of sale so owners don’t get clobbered down the road by insurance companies and PBM’s who says they don’t make enough money,” Sen. Wyden said.

In September, Oregon’s employee-owned Bi-Mart even left the pharmacy business.

In some stores, it turned that over to Walgreen’s, and in others even closed the pharmacies in their stores.

“All pharmacies have been backed up.”

I reached out to the Klamath Falls based pharmacy for comment but did not hear back.

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