Utah ranks second in the nation for prescription medication shortages

Mar 25, 2024, 8:00 PM

bottles of prescription medication at a desk. 16.2% of Utahns are unable to get the prescription me...

16.2% of Utahns are unable to get the prescription medications they need. (Canva)


SALT LAKE CITY — Utah ranks second in the nation for a shortage in prescription medication, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This affects an estimated 400,000 Utahns. The hardest drugs to get include medication for ADHD, cancer and high blood pressure. 

“Sometimes it just comes down to a matter of what’s available from our wholesalers within our state and what’s delivered here,” says Adam Jones, Director of the Utah Pharmacy Association. 

Jones tells people who have concerns about the availability of their medication, to reach out to their pharmacist. He says they might be able to find it at another pharmacy. They may also be able to recommend a generic version if the brand name is not available. 

And if that’s not available, Jones said they will help patients find another pharmacy that does have the prescription medication. 

“We continue to watch and we help patients out as best we can,” he said. 

The rest of the country

Jones said yes, we rank second in the country, but it’s hard to get ADHD, cancer and high blood pressure drugs all across the United States.

According to the Census Beureu’s data, it’s hardest to get medication in Louisiana. 16.9% of residents are struggling, compared to Utah’s 16.2%. 

Rates in neighboring states like Idaho (12.9%) and Arizona (12.5%) were a bit lower. California had the lowest rate, 8.6%. 

The reason behind much of these medication shortages all across the country is hard to pinpoint, but a lot of it stems from the COVID pandemic. 

Recent CDC data shows that prescriptions for ADHD specifically are more widespread. 

“Policies enacted during the pandemic expanded access to prescription stimulants via telehealth,” the report said. 

The data also showed that “growing recognition” of ADHD in adults has increased prescriptions across the country, creating a much higher demand and a difficulty filling that demand. 

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Utah ranks second in the nation for prescription medication shortages