Coronavirus outbreak could bring shortage of life-saving medications

Bo and Gabrielle Graffeo, from Levittown, says a CVS in Hicksville could only offer them a few days' supply of a needed seizure medication.

News 12 Staff

Mar 27, 2020, 6:48 PM

Updated 1,581 days ago

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The coronavirus outbreak has posed the potentially life-threatening problem of a shortage of medicine.
Bo and Gabrielle Graffeo, from Levittown, says a CVS in Hicksville could not get them 90 days worth of a needed seizure medication. They say they use that medication, along with several others, to control their 11-month-old daughter's seizures.
The drug is called levetiracetam. The couple says they tried getting a 90-day supply, but shortages only allowed them to get much less.
"It's nerve-wracking because we don't know what tomorrow is going to be, or whether they're going to have any extra medication, or how my daughter is going to act if they change medications," says Bo Graffeo.
The couple says they only tried getting the drug from CVS, but News 12 was able to help them find it at an independently owned pharmacy nearby.
After News 12 contacted CVS, a representative said there is a 30-day supply of the medicine waiting for the couple at the pharmacy.
Pharmacist Ralph Ekstrand says anyone who is having trouble finding the medicine they're looking for should check several drug stores, including small, family-run shops.
PHOTOS: The impact of the coronavirus worldwide
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"Sometimes people call around. They pick up the phone, and let their fingers do the walking through the yellow pages, looking for a pharmacy that has the medication," says Ekstrand.
But in the long run, Howard Jacobson with the Long Island Pharmacists Society says more drug shortages could be on the horizon, depending on how long the health crisis continues.
"At least 80% of all drugs that are used in America come in from foreign countries, a huge percentage is from China," says Jacobson. "Eventually the active ingredients in our drugs that are made in China are going to become in short supply in America."
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