Survey: Americans Worried About COVID-19 Drug Shortages

April 30, 2020

Americans are increasingly concerned about drug shortages due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a new survey by prescription savings service SingleCare.

Americans are increasingly concerned about drug shortages due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a new survey by prescription savings service SingleCare.

Additionally, although the majority of Americans indicated they would receive a COVID-19 vaccine, many responded that they would not receive a vaccination.   

Thirty percent of Americans surveyed by SingleCare said they are concerned about drug shortages, whereas 24% said they are worried about being able to afford medications, according to updated data provided to Drug Topics®.

SingleCare, which surveyed more than 1000 adults nationwide on April 10, also noted a 227% increase in demand for hydroxychloroquine sulfate from February to March 2020. The controversial anti-malaria drug, which was granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA, has soared in price due to high demand.

Because of their concern over drug shortages, 22% of Americans are stocking up on prescription medications and 23% are stocking up on OTC drugs, SingleCare found. Plus, a third (33%) of the population is extending their prescription refills for longer periods of time.

However, although they are concerned about drug shortages due to COVID-19, Americans have mixed feelings about obtaining a vaccine to prevent contracting the virus. Sixty-five percent want to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available, a 14% increase since March 20. However, 21% don’t want to get the vaccine, but will if they are legally required to do so. Fourteen percent don’t want to get the vaccine at all, SingleCare found.

Americans are changing their medication habits-as well as their safety precautions to prevent getting the virus. As of April 10, around 32% of Americans said they are going through a drive-thru pharmacy when they pick up their medications, an 11% increase from March 20. Eighteen percent are receiving their prescriptions through the mail.

Eighty-nine percent are washing their hands more frequently and/or for longer periods of time, whereas 87% are practicing social distancing. In other preventive measures, 76% are using hand sanitizer, 73% are avoiding touching their faces, 67% are cleaning surfaces more often, and 65% are adhering to government-mandated rules to shelter in place.

Sixty percent of people have worn a mask-a 45% increase since March 20-and 44% have worn gloves. A third of Americans have changed clothes after they return home from the store or pharmacy, a 14% increase since March 20.

Other SingleCare findings include:

  • Approximately half (49%) are concerned about receiving adequate medical care due to COVID-19.

  • Twenty-eight percent worry about being able to afford medical treatment.

  • Forty percent are concerned about how social distancing may affect their mental health, a 16% increase since March 20. Fifteen percent said that social distancing is increasing their anxiety, whereas 14% say social distancing is increasing their depression.

References:

1. Coronavirus survey: America’s new health habits. News Release. SingleCare; March 25, 2020. Accessed April 29, 2020. https://www.singlecare.com/blog/news/coronavirus-survey-americas-new-health-habits/.