CHICAGO (CBS) — Supplies that are not even related to COVID-19 are running low for mom-and-pop pharmacies.
As CBS 2’s Jermont Terry reported Thursday, one neighborhood pharmacy in South Shore believes because of its small size, it is being shut out of life-saving supplies.
Small clinics and pharmacies are often patients’ only encounters with medical experts in some parts of the city. And those experts feel their patients are losing out during the fight against coronavirus.
At the corner of 71st Street and Jeffery Boulevard, you’ll find M&R Prescription Center.
“This pharmacy is absolutely needed in neighborhood,” said Pamela Jones, owner of M&R.
The local pharmacy has been offering services to South Shore since the 1980s. But since the COVID-19 outbreak, Jones admitted they are not operating in the best conditions.
“I feel I’m not able to provide my customers with even a safe environment,” Jones said. “One thing that I would typically have on the counter, just like you would in clinics, is masks.”
The “out of stock” signs on the front door detail the items Jones needs to maintain a healthy environment, but Jones said her product supplier refuses even to ship a box of masks.
“It’s definitely an internal process of who gets what,” Jones said.
Jones said despite placing the orders, the suppliers are opting to bypass small pharmacies like hers.
“Everything has been on product allocations,” she said.
That means the pharmacy can’t get medical essentials.
“They’re choosing to send them to hospitals. They’re choosing to send them to organizations or companies who historically ordered more in the past,” Jones said.
The same issue also temporarily closed another clinic on the South Side. The Iman Community Health Center could not get masks to protect patients or staff.
But for Jones, she insists it is bigger than masks. The companies are refusing to ship insulin needles.
“How is a diabetic supposed to use their insulin if they don’t have a needle to attach to the pen?” she said.
Unlike retail stores, some items are still readily available to medical agencies. Jones believes the Illinois Attorney General may need to look into whether it is legal to keep supplies from small businesses.