Price of wheelchairs, diabetic shoes and medical equipment rises due to supply chain issues
AUGUSTA, Georgia (WJBF) – Barry Bryant, owner of Barney’s Pharmacy, says they did not face many drug or pharmaceutical shortages during the pandemic. But they saw shortages in other areas like supplies of medical equipment.
“A lot of things come from overseas, so they can float in a container ship. Some of this stuff is made in the USA. If you can get it here, its availability may be limited and you’re going to pay a higher price for it, ”says Bryant.
It boils down to a shortage of raw materials, like molded plastic and foam, which are common in many medical devices, including diabetic footwear.
“You see this problem with wheelchairs that have padded armrests. They tell us there’s a problem getting the foam that the padded armrests are padded with, ”said Bryant. “We can get the simple bath benches, but the ones with the foam armrests can’t get them. “
Some hospitals have been hit hardest by this problem.
“Crutches. You wouldn’t think crutches would be a problem, but even hospitals, you go there and they don’t have crutches. They’re calling us looking for crutches,” Bryant said.
Bryant says much of their inventory is made in the United States, but the raw materials come from overseas.
“We have found a local supplier where we can get this [bath benches] here, so it’s not the overseas-made ones, and the price is almost double, ”said Bryant. “You’re trying to protect the consumer, but we’re kind of tied in why we have to buy it.”
There are seven and soon to be eight Barney Pharmacy locations, and Bryant says they keep the shelves stocked with enough supplies to last a few weeks in case they run into any issues.
But supply chain issues affect the price of this medical equipment.
“It’s all about supply and demand. If demand increases and supply decreases or if it is limited, we don’t know what will happen with the prices, ”says Bryant.
In April, an eighth branch will open in Thomson. And Barney’s faced yet another supply chain problem that Bryant says he didn’t see coming.
“Believe it or not, we can’t put ourselves on the shelf. You would think my most immediate concern would be having drugs in stock, but those are the shelves to put them in, ”said Bryant.