NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A nationwide shortage on insulin has diabetics around the country on edge.
Pharmacists here in Arkansas said the supply of the life-saving medication can change day-to-day.
For those suffering with the disease though, they said it needs to be fixed.
The supply chain back-up has made its way to the medicine cabinets.
It's now impacting things that mean much more than toilet paper or paper towels, according to Bill Elderton.
"As soon as we run out of insulin, we're gone, so it's a scary thing," he said.
Elderton has lived with diabetes for the past 24 years. He became insulin-dependent 10 years into his diagnosis.
"It's not just the diabetes, and not just watching your sugar and everything. It's a scary disease, very scary," he said.
Elderton may have to use his insulin up to three times a day, depending on his blood sugar levels.
This is why when his pharmacist said they were all out when it was time for him to refill, panic sank in.
"It's going to be nerve-wracking until this supply chain issue is solved," he said.
Elderton was able to get his insulin a couple days later, but less than he normally does.
Randy Kassissieh, Cornerstone Pharmacy Rose City owner, said that's normal. Right now, the supply is just a guessing game.
"Our wholesalers show inventory, but that does not mean that tomorrow there is not a shortage," he said.
Kassissieh's fridge at his pharmacy may be full right now, but that hasn't always been the case over the past month.
"One in particular, which is one that people usually take with their mealtime insulin, called NovoLog. In particular that one, as of last week I didn't have any insulin whatsoever in stock," he said.
That's why when it's available Kassissieh buys more than usual, but it comes at a cost.
"It's putting a burden on pharmacies sometimes to have to put extra inventory on their shelves, that's just sitting and waiting for a patient to need it," he said.
While there isn't an answer of when the guessing game could end, it's a problem that Kassissieh said needs to be solved.
"Whether you're a Type-1 or Type-2 diabetic, insulin is a life saving medication and when it's not readily available, then it's problematic for them," he said.
Kassissieh said it's not only insulin that is the issue right now. Other drugs like blood pressure medications and inhalers are also having similar shortages.