Crisis at LA, Long Beach ports leaving pharmacies short on medical supplies

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Wheelchairs, walkers and other critical medical equipment are in short supply at some Southern California pharmacies due to the crisis at the ports.

The hang-ups and delays at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are filtering into businesses like the Santa Clarita Valley Health Care Pharmacy.

Pharmacies usually have an ample supply of wheelchairs and crutches, but many, including the Santa Clarita Valley Health Care Pharmacy, have only a handful of these items because all of these products are on backorder.

The pharmacy has one crutch for adults and a few crutches for children. The pharmacy is completely out of stock on the nebulizer masks, which is a concern for parents who have children with asthma.

Pharmacist Rebecca Lozingot is praying the critical backup at the ports will be solved sooner than later. As frustrated as she is with not having enough wheelchairs, crutches and other medical supplies for customers, she said she fears for parents who cannot find nebulizers at pharmacies.

"I haven't gotten any in about two to three weeks, and I've no idea when they're going to come in," Lozingot said. "Children need nebulizers, they can't use inhalers like adults can. So when I don't have nebulizers, there's a lot of young kids who can't get albuterol and things like that because they're not as capable of puffing an inhaler like an adult is able to."

Lozingot is terrified that the persistent crisis at the ports will mean things will eventually filter down to pharmacies running critically low on life-saving medications.

"I suggest other pharmacies they can call, but I don't know if any of them have it either. Most of us order from the same places," Lozingot said. "Our only solution is to tell them to go to the hospital where they have those nasal things they can do and other things like that, or I assume they have an ample supply of those there."

Lozingot said they have been able to fill prescriptions, but she fears that won't last much longer.

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