GREELEY, Colo. - Robin and George Cheesman have been married for 43 years and do their best to take care of each other. A few months ago, George had a close call.

"He had a COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) exacerbation. He wasn't breathing. I went and found him not breathing in bed and had to pull him down onto the floor and do CPR, call 911 and get him to the hospital. They put him on a ventilator. He was in the hospital in intensive care for eight days on a respirator," said Robin.

Since being released from the hospital, he has a long list of necessary prescription medication, but the Cheesmans are having a difficult time finding even commonly prescribed medicines.

"We call the pharmacy and they just basically told us they don't have any, and that they would look around and see if another UCHealth pharmacy had it," said Robin who explained even calling around to other pharmacies like Walgreens or King Soopers, didn't immediately solve the problem. After making several calls they were able to track down what George needed across different pharmacies.

"We went to Fort Collins which is 30 minutes away. We went to Loveland which is 30 minutes. Last week, I ended up driving up to Eaton," Robin said.

A Senate Committee report released this year showed new drug shortages in the United States increased nearly 30% between 2021 and 2022.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has a search tool that allows you to look up a medication and see information related to the shortage. Depending on the drug, ingredient shortage, a major manufacturer discontinuing a drug, or increase in demand can contribute to a medication shortage.

The FDA identifies discontinuations as one major reason for drug shortages. The FDA cannot require a company to continue making a drug that the company is discontinuing. Other companies can't always increase their production of the drug quick enough to meet current demand.

"We're fighting for George's life. He had an exacerbation that made him not breathe, and I had to give him CPR, and it was the most traumatic thing that's ever happened to us. Now we just want a chance for him to live and to use all of this resources that we have available to us," said Robin.

The Cheesmans want to warn other families to make sure they call pharmacies early and plan ahead just incase they have difficulty tracking down their medications.

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