Dealing with Pharmacy Supply Issues

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Thank you very much for reading our article on Dealing with Pharmacy Supply Issues.

Unfortunately because Louisiana’s system only has two growers and nine pharmacies, supply shortages and inconsistent product selections are common.

Please continue reading for some tips on how to deal with these situations.


Use the Pharmacy’s Online System

First off, if you are not using the internet to check your pharmacy’s online ordering system, you are already at a distinct disadvantage.

Besides simply telling you what products are in stock, and avoiding having to drive to the pharmacy when your products are not available, there is also a wealth of information about the products available online such as the form, strain, concentration, and price of the available products.

If you do nothing else on this list, checking and researching (and possibly ordering) the product selections online will save you tremendous time and frustration.


Check Online for Products Frequently

As we have all learned during the pandemic, all sorts of products can be in and out of stock at a moment’s notice.  The same is true for medical marijuana products as well.

One should never assume that the products you need will always be in stock.  Just a we have seen in the past few years with toilet paper, ground beef, formula, and other consumer products, the availability of specific medical marijuana products changes all the time.

One piece of advice is to check the online ordering system frequently, at least a few times a week, at different days and times.  Don’t simply check the same time every day or the same day every week.

The pharmacy receives orders all the time and updates their systems at irregular times, so checking frequently and randomly is often your best best when looking for products.


Build a Stockpile when Product is Available

We also advise keeping a few months stockpile of your products on hand.  I realize that this advice may not be practical for everyone as many people do live on a fixed income or get paid only at specific times of the month.

However if you do have the ability to stock up and build a backup supply when the supply is plentiful, you will be in a much better position to weather supply shocks when they occur.

In reality, you will be spending this money on the medical marijuana product anyway, so why not use it to build up a stockpile and have peace of mind during a supply shortage?

Otherwise, in a pinch, you may find yourself forced to purchase an inferior product that doesn’t work well for you or go totally without.


Consider Substitutions if Needed

In a worse case scenario, if the products you need are not available, and you are about to run out, you may have to take drastic measures.

Remember that recommendations can be transferred from one pharmacy to another, but this does generally involve a waiting period for the transfer to happen, plus you are likely having to travel at least an hour to another dispensary, but this could be an option if you can find your specific product at another pharmacy.

Does your product come in a different concentration or dose?  That is often the easiest substitution to make, as it only involves a change in the volume that you will be taking.

Perhaps you may have to change the manufacturer, strain, or route of administration.  These changes would be more challenging, but likely doable.  Just be aware of side effects that could happen with a new product that you are not used to.

Finally, you may have to get drastic with a substitution.  For example, if you rely on tinctures and/or gummies, and neither are available, would you be willing to make your own edibles from the plant (flower) form?


Lobby for Changes

As you already know, Louisiana’s system is one of the most restrictive in the country, with only two growers and nine pharmacies.

Increasing the number of growers and pharmacies is the only long term solution to the product supply issues.

Unfortunately, this would require a change in the state law, and only your state legislature can do this.

So please lobby your local state senator and representative to make changes that will put this program on a good future footing.



We hope that you enjoyed our tips for Dealing with Pharmacy Supply Issues.

As always, please discuss any specific medical decisions with your doctor or pharmacist.

Please visit our website if you want to learn more about our clinic or medical marijuana or to Request a Consultation with me.

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Doctor Victor Chou, M.D.

Medical Marijuana Clinic of Louisiana