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Here’s why so many medications are out of stock — and what to do if it affects you

Many common medications – including those prescribed for menopause, dementia, and depression – are currently seeing shortages worldwide.

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It's unlikely shortages will go away anytime soon. asobov/ Shutterstock

Millions of people worldwide who use certain common medicines may be finding it more difficult to get their normal prescriptions dispensed. This comes after pharmacies across the UK, the US and Europe have all reported shortages of many different drugs, including those often prescribed for menopause, dementia, depression and pain.

There are many reasons why disruptions in the pharmaceutical supply chain occur, including manufacturing issues, supplier and price changes, increased demand, stockpiling and panic buying. For example, both reduced supply and growing demand may partly explain why hormone replacement therapy (HRT) products have faced recent shortages.

There is no one clear root cause of the current global medicines shortages, and each country will face different challenges with supplies. But factors such as the pandemic, Brexit, reduced supplies from over-used supply routes (such as India) and the Ukraine conflict, all have widespread effects on the availability of medicines.

But disruptions in the supply chain can be more than just a minor annoyance for patients trying to get their prescriptions. It could potentially lead to delays in patient treatments and even fatalities.

People unable to get their usual prescription may try swapping medications, accessing products online, or even buying them over-the-counter. Not only can this be more expensive, it may also put patients at risk of adverse effects.

What’s being done

When supplies are restricted, pharmacy staff will try to source stock from suppliers or other pharmacies. Where an alternative product already exists, pharmacy staff will contact GPs to ask for prescriptions to be changed to give this to patients. But patients should be made aware if their medication is switched to avoid confusion and any negative side effects.

When major product shortages are reported, serious shortages protocols can be enacted. These help pharmacies to manage medicine shortages without needing to refer patients back to prescribers. For example, if these protocols are enacted pharmacists may supply alternative products (if a patient agrees to this), or adjust prescription quantities – such as giving patients only a one-month supply at a time.

An elderly man speaks with a young female pharmacist about his prescription.
Your pharmacist may be able to help you understand any medication changes. PeopleImages.com - Yuri A/ Shutterstock

Manufacturers are also legally required to report supply disruptions to the Department of Health and Social Care. This information is fed into the Medicines Supply Tool that advises healthcare professionals on supply issues, actions to take, alternatives to use and expected resolution dates. Local pharmacy staff and GPs will also report any product shortages to government agencies and with patients.

Patient information

While some might argue that patients shouldn’t have to get involved in accessing their own medications, it can be very helpful when there are shortages. Here are some things you can do if your medication is becoming more difficult to source.

If you take a particular medication on a repeat basis, you can request your prescriptions earlier, before your current supplies run out. There are also online resources you can check, which will tell you whether your medication is being affected by shortages, and what you can do about it.

If your local pharmacy doesn’t have your medication, you can try other pharmacies to find the medication before the prescription has to be changed to an alternative product.

You can also work with your GP or pharmacist to better understand what’s happening and what you can do. If you can’t get an appointment with your GP or speak to your local pharmacist team in person, there are apps which allow direct messaging. This can help dispel any confusion and allow you to discuss concerns you may have.

It’s worth noting that product changes in community pharmacy are only allowed when serious shortage protocols are in place. At the moment, serious shortage protocols are only in place for 16 UK medications – mainly those used as hormone replacement therapy. These protocols are only enacted if a serious shortage of a particular medication has been declared.

It’s unlikely that medicines shortages are going to be resolved anytime soon. As such, it’s important you speak with your pharmacist or GP about any concerns you have, how shortages affect your medication supply, and what course of action you may need to take. It’s important you don’t use an alternative product without speaking to your pharmacist, nurse or doctor to avoid adverse side effects.

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Economics

Why WWE could be a good stock to buy/hold in October

World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (NYSE:WWE) remains in defensive mode as the stock market crumbles. A year-to-date return of 37.40% makes the stock one…

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World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (NYSE:WWE) remains in defensive mode as the stock market crumbles. A year-to-date return of 37.40% makes the stock one to hold for value preservation. This article finds WWE a good stock to trade when keenness and proper risk management are exercised.

WWE, as it is popularly known, is an integrated media and entertainment entity. It’s known for wrestling promotion, but related fields of film and American football widen its scope. 

Just like other entertainment companies, WWE was grounded by the Covid-19 disruption. As recovery began, the stock has never looked back. It has acted as a true momentum stock while maintaining an uptrend since the beginning of the year. There are clear fundamentals too.

In its second quarter, the company’s net revenue rose 24% to $328.2 million or £309.6 million. The revenue was above $322.4 million or £304.15 estimates. The earnings per share increased from $0.42 to $0.59. The company projects “strong revenue growth” in the third quarter. The raised guidance reflects rising content monetization, local media rights fees, and international ticket sales increases. 

WWE touches the bottom of the ascending channel

Source – TradingView

On the daily chart, momentum is weak on WWE as it corrected to $67. However, we can see that WWE is still maintaining the upside channel. 

Should you buy WWE

WWE has maintained momentum and recovers each time it hits the bottom of the ascending channel. The stock is a buy at the current level, preferably after recovering above the 50-day MA. Short-term traders can exit at the top of the ascending channel.

The post Why WWE could be a good stock to buy/hold in October appeared first on Invezz.

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Economics

Cities With Good Neighbors Have Lower-Than-Average Home Values

New York’s Rochester was identified took the top spot as the most neighborly city in the country.

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New York's Rochester was identified took the top spot as the most neighborly city in the country.

Many want the kind of neighbor who will stop by with fresh-baked cookies, offer gardening tips and take out the mail while they're away — a thing that, if you live in an urban mecca like New York, is just as likely as finding a spacious apartment that's available and within budget.

In honor of National Neighbor Day on Sept. 28, self-storage company Neighbor.com identified Rochester in the Finger Lakes region of New York state as the most neighborly city in the country.

The study analyzed both big and small cities through factors such as resident happiness levels and number of people volunteering their time to the community.

"It's not a surprise that Rochester is the most neighborly city this year, it's made this list each year," Joseph Woodbury, CEO and co-founder of Neighbor.com, said of the findings. "Oftentimes, we connect hospitality with small cities, but you’ll find that people in large cities are just as likely to go out of their way to help one another."

Correlation Between Neighborliness and Home Values

While Federal Reserve economic data pegs the median price of homes sold in 2022 at $428,000, the median list price identified by Realtor.com for Rochester is $150,000. 

Madison, Wis., and Provo, Utah followed Rochester as the most "neighborly" cities in the U.S. and have respective median list prices of $360,000 and $495,000.

Along with Provo, California's Oxnard breaks the list's mold with its high real estate prices — amid proximity to the beach (the city is about 60 miles from Los Angeles) and quaint Victoria architecture, the city has a median list price of $794,500.

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Other cities on the list generally fall below the national average for a standard single-family home. Grand Rapids in Michigan has a median list price of $307,500 while that number is only $175,000 in Milwaukee, Wis.

Harrisburg, Pa., and Des Moines, Iowa are two other neighborly cities with respective list prices of $215,000 and $227,500. 

Good neighbors have long been a hallmark of smaller cities with a quieter way of life — metropolises like New York and Los Angeles have very high property values, they are not exactly known for being "friendly" or "welcoming."

With a median list price of $495,000, North Carolina's Raleigh is the largest city to make the list.

Those who think New Yorkers are unfriendly need only to look outside the five boroughs — with a median list price of $334,000, Poughkeepsie also made the list for its neighborliness.

Search For the Next Big Real Estate City

As sleepy towns that paint a TV image of "neighborliness" tend to have lower demand, they may not offer the kind of real estate growth potential that many investors are specifically looking for. 

But exceptions do exist — many small cities are currently in the midst of a real estate boon and, subsequently, an explosion in real estate values.

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According to the study's authors, many homebuyers looking to move have specifically started looking for "friendlier" cities after the pandemic and are driving up demand for formerly quiet places.

Realtor.com identified Utah's Salt Lake City, Idaho's Boise and Washington state's Spokane as 2022's fastest-growing real estate markets.

"Being neighborly goes beyond a friendly wave while driving down the street or offering to water plants while on vacation," Woodbury said. "To be neighborly is opening yourself up to building relationships and ultimately a community that is rooted in compassion, trust, and care."

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Economics

Here’s Why Your Boss May Reject Your Business Travel Request

People are taking vacations again, but a once dominant travel sector is struggling to recover.

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People are taking vacations again, but a once dominant travel sector is struggling to recover.

Now that vaccines are readily available and President Joe Biden has declared that the pandemic is officially over, people are flying again. But they’re really not happy about it.

The research firm J.D. Power found that last year, when the airline industry first started to cautiously rebound, consumer satisfaction with airports reached an all-time high. But this was very likely both because of a relatively smaller sample size and that so many people were happy to fly again that they were willing to overlook a lot of what has become headache-inducing about modern airfare travel.

J.D. Power  (JD) - Get JD.com Inc. Report has found that this year, global passenger levels are nearly back up to 91% of pre-pandemic levels. 

Customer satisfaction has dropped sharply, 25 points on a 1,000-point scale, to 777, as more people have returned to airports, for reasons ranging from an increase in flight cancellations and delays to inflation-driven increases in the cost of airport food.

But while airlines are aware that customers aren’t happy, and that the Biden Administration might try to right the ship with proposals that airlines likely won’t care for, at least people are flying again.

But an additional survey by J.D. Power has revealed that while people are flying again, traveling for business (be it for in-person meetings or industry conferences), has been lagging behind and recovering at nearly the rate of traveling for pleasure. 

Is Traveling for Business on the Way Out?

J.D. Power’s research has found that many travelers doubt that travel levels will increase dramatically from where they are now, and that “a strong majority of executives believe their companies will spend less in the next six months compared to the same period in 2019, for instance, due to things like fewer trips overall or fewer employees sent when there is a trip scheduled,” according to their data.

Overall, business travel has returned to “about 81% of 2019 levels,” notes Managing Director Michael Taylor. “83% was our prediction for this quarter, we’ll see how well we did in a few weeks and add a predication for Q4.”

J.D. Power

Fears of recession and the rising costs of air tickets from inflation play a factor in the decline of business travel. But overall, the main reason is that many of us have gotten so used to working at home that two-thirds of employees would rather find a new job than go back to the pre-pandemic status quo. If employees feel they can get work done from home and don’t feel like braving traffic to return to the office, why would they feel they need to get on a plane?

So have services like Zoom (ZM) - Get Zoom Video Communications Inc. Report and Slack made the business trip redundant? Taylor has his doubts.

“But will people be meeting exclusively in the 'Metaverse' rather than in person? I do not think that will happen,” he says. “There is too much information to be gathered in face-to-face meetings, spoken and unspoken, to be replaced completely by virtual ‘reality.’”

Getty Images

So is This It for Business Travel?

Back in the heady pre-pandemic days three years ago, airlines could rely on the extra income from people whose jobs entailed a great deal of travel, and who had come to the realization that if they were going to spend a chunk of their lives on the road, they could splurge to make it a more comfortable experience. 

But if airlines want this sector to return, Taylor thinks it’s their duty to make it a more appealing option, because frequent delays and other headaches are enough to make anyone stick to Zoom.

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Airlines, Taylor says, must “create more of a “living room” experience for travelers, one that “makes travelers feel valued as patrons of the airlines, and makes people feel like individuals rather than cattle.”

Because while it’s hard to argue with the convenience, Taylor insists there is still something to be said for the occasional in-person meeting. 

“Millenia of evolution in mankind has created an awareness that can’t be described with words on a page or pixels on a screen,” he says. “People will still find advantages in meeting in-person rather than online.”

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