The FDA publishes a list of the medications currently experiencing shortages in the USA. Some are commonly used, and a shortage may pose a serious, even life-threatening risk to their users (e.g. injectable epinephrine, used in applications like the well-known Epipen and similar products to treat cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis [allergic reactions], etc. – four different versions of that medication are currently listed as being in short supply).
Miss D. and I are fortunate in that none of our prescribed medications currently appear on that list – but some have in the past, and others may pop up there in future. There are currently 114 medications on the list, which is a pretty scary number if you’re likely to need one of them. I keep a careful watch on the list, and also strive to maintain at least a 180-day reserve supply of our vital medications (which I’d like to stretch further, but right now that’s not possible).
If you don’t have a reserve supply of a medication critical to your health and well-being, I strongly suggest that you take steps to build up a reserve as quickly as possible. You won’t be able to charge it to your medical insurance, but if you can pay cash for it, your medical practitioner may be willing to write you a prescription for an extra 90-day supply, and explain to your pharmacy why you want it. (That’s how I built up Miss D.’s and my reserves.) You can also buy some prescription medications from animal medication vendors; azithromycin or doxycycline for animals is the same drug as for humans, and often produced to the same quality standards. (Do your homework on that!) Finally, some medications can be obtained outside the USA for much lower prices than within our borders. Many people shop at pharmacies in Mexico, or have friends do so, or order by mail from pharmacies even further afield. It’s illegal, but it happens, and I haven’t heard of US Customs officers doing anything to stop such medications coming over the border in personal-use quantities. (Even the airports in Mexico have vending machines offering medications that are hard to find in the USA, at far lower prices.)
In these days of supply chain blockages and sudden shortages, you don’t want to be caught short of life-supporting medications. This should be one of the highest-priority items on your list of emergency preparations. It’s even more important when you consider that almost the entire US drug-manufacturing industry has been outsourced to China. Given geopolitical tensions on top of the supply chain crunch, our medication supplies could be interrupted at any time.