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Staff shortages hit pharmacies hard

Pharmacies are taking the brunt of nationwide staff shortages, leaving people on both sides of the counter with concerns about getting prescriptions filled on time.

KINGSTON, Pa. — CVS at Kingston Corner is one of many pharmacies throughout our area struggling with staff shortages.

It's gotten to the point where they now have a sign on the door listing temporary pharmacy hours, limiting their availability for customers to pick up their prescriptions.

Pharmacies in our area and beyond are facing severe staff shortages, causing serious problems for customers trying to get their prescriptions on time.

According to the National Community Pharmacists Association, 70 percent of community pharmacists said they were struggling to find workers.

"The long waits to have the prescription filled used to be the doctor would call up, and then you could go right up and pick the prescription up. And now, that just doesn't happen anymore," said Glen Lippincott from Sciota.

Glen Lippincott thought the limited hours and delayed prescriptions were only a problem near his home in Monroe County. But his experience with the VA and at other CVS locations shows that the staff shortages stretch beyond county lines.

"If they can't fill it, I know that they have gone through CVS, and actually, they call up CVS and give me a short-term, ten-day supply or something like that to get it to you in time. But again, we're affected by the ability of CVS to see if they can fill that emergency script," he added.

And it's not just the big chain pharmacies that are struggling. Independent pharmacies, including Cook's in Kingston, are also struggling with staff shortages.

"Some pharmacists I know have unfortunately had hours even cut just because of how short we are on people, and we're just trying to balance out all the hours that we can," said Rachel Bath, a pharmacy tech.

While studying to be a physician's assistant at King's College, Bath has been working at Cook's Pharmacy for the past two years.

"It would be one pharmacist and one tech for the whole day, which is not fair to some people because so many people want to pick up their prescriptions on the weekend when they're off from work, and there's just not enough hands in our spot," explained Bath.

The need for more pharmacists and techs encourages Bath to continue pursuing a career in health care, hoping her classmates will be a part of the solution to combat these staffing shortages.

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