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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

U.S. supply shortages create adverse health impacts for millions

Terry Vester examines Charity Hodge at Vester’s clinic in LaFayette, Ala., earlier this year.  (Arielle Zionts/Tribune News Service )
By Alex Tanzi Bloomberg

Three years after the worst of COVID-era supply-chain disruptions, about one in six Americans adults are experiencing shortages of medications or other critical medical equipment, based on a Census Bureau survey.

That’s equivalent to more than 45 million people who couldn’t get hold of prescribed drugs, over-the-counter medication, home medical equipment or other critical goods in the previous 30 days.

About half of them faced mental distress or had negative health impacts as a result, according the survey, conducted Aug. 23 to Sept. 4.

The survey upends the notion that the U.S. has an abundance of goods.

As logistics have improved in recent months, higher interest rates may be squelching the benefits of increasing supply.

The supply shortage for critical products is causing angst among consumers.

More than 20 million American said that their health was negatively impacted or they faced mental distress due to the lack of availability of a needed product during the past month.

Another 4.9 million postponed care or treatment.

The Census Bureau survey showed that 28.7 million experienced a shortage for their doctor prescribed medicines.

The survey only includes products. It did not ask about the availability of services such as the ease in obtaining a timely visit with a medical professional.

The Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey was designed and launched to quickly collect data on how people’s lives have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.