Local pharmacies hit hard during medical supply chain disruption

GASTONIA, N.C. — A local pharmacist showed Channel 9 reporter DaShawn Brown how he is being affected by the latest round of disruptions in the medical supply chain.

Pharmacist Don Thrower has an inventory sheet filled with zeros indicating items he didn’t manage to get.

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Thrower has been in the pharmacy business for more than 40 years and hasn’t experienced disruption like this one.

He said, “100 gloves used to cost us six bucks. OK.  Now, they’re 14 bucks.”

Thrower is the co-owner of the Medical Center Pharmacy in Gastonia where some shelves are bare.

The same thing is happening nationwide.

The report from Forbes said the shortages in the healthcare system are unprecedented. “They can be traced to component scarcities, backlogged ports, transportation glitches and lockdowns in China to combat the spread of COVID-19,” according to the Forbes report.

Officials with the company Owens and Minor told Forbes that 45% of the items it handles are constrained by the supply chain.


The report named products, such as hypodermic needles, surgical tape, gloves and syringes.

Brown checked with local healthcare systems, including Atrium Health and Novant Health, to ask officials about the impact on their supplies and patient care.

Novant officials said, in part, “While we have sufficient supplies today, we are always carefully monitoring supplies.”

(Watch the video below: Healthcare workers concerned about medical supply shortage)