Carmel Pharmacist Describes Managing Staff Shortages and Testing Requests

CARMEL – Pharmacies statewide are now busier than ever, between people looking for high and low COVID-19 tests and most pharmacies already facing staff shortages – there has never been more work to do.

Locally, Sam Calcuttawala, pharmacist and co-owner of Carmel Prescription Shop, knows the issues nationwide all too well.

“Just at Christmas, it just exploded,” he said.

Calcuttawala said he never imagined a wave of people needing tests like the pharmacy has seen since the holidays. They haven’t had home COVID tests in stock for over a week.

“We literally hiked hundreds of them in two days,” Green said.

Carmel Prescription Shop also offers rapid COVID tests and various vaccines and reminders. Calcuttawala said the need for all of these services has also increased, making it difficult to keep track of its staff.

“Sometimes when there are multiple things going on at the same time, you just can’t physically access them,” Calcuttawala said.

The simple answer is to hire more staff, but pharmacies, like many industries, are currently experiencing a staff shortage.

“The first thing I hear is about pharmacy technicians and the difficulty in filling those positions,” said Darren Covington, executive vice president of the Indiana Pharmacists Association.

Covington said nationwide, pharmacies are struggling to find technicians and even pharmacists, thanks to the depletion of COVID-19.

Covington said this could cause delays or even canceled appointments at your local pharmacies. Some pharmacies may even close earlier due to sudden staff absences due to the COVID-19 quarantine.

Calcuttawala said he never had to close, but had to move appointments a few times.

He asks people to have a little patience with their pharmacists at this time.

“Their goal is to help people,” he said. “It’s not because they don’t want to, it’s because there is an overwhelming demand.”

As to when the shortages might end, Covington said it was difficult to predict the future, but as long as the pandemic continues, pharmacies will need it.

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