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Mom calls 18 pharmacies to find amoxicillin amidst nationwide shortage

There is a nationwide shortage of amoxicillin, a commonly-used antibiotic.

FIRESTONE, Colo. — It's been a tough few weeks in the Schott household.

“It started with the baby. Then I got it,” said Aselyn Schott, mother of two daughters.

Her youngest, four-year-old Zayla, has been sick.

“She just had a runny nose, a cough, a fever, a headache – the works,” Schott said. “It just was not getting better. Tylenol, Motrin, some kid's cold meds – it wasn’t cutting it anymore.”

Schott said she took Zayla to the pediatrician Monday. Even though the COVID tests came back negative, it was clear the little girl was sick with something. Schott said the doctor also diagnosed her daughter with a double-ear infection.

He wrote her a prescription for amoxicillin – a common antibiotic – before giving her a warning.

“He told me there was a shortage on [amoxicillin]. So he gave me a paper prescription so that way I could hop around to pharmacies, and they wouldn’t have to transfer it,” Schott said. “It’s a lot harder for them to transfer it than for them to just give me the paper and for me to go find it.”

She soon learned just how hard it would be to find the drug, which is in the middle of a national shortage right now.

The FDA lists amoxicillin on its drug shortage list. According to manufacturers, there has been a "demand increase" for the drug.

Schott spent the next several hours calling nearly 20 pharmacies trying to find someone who had amoxicillin in stock within driving distance of her Firestone home.

“I was in the car the whole time just calling," she said. "Just speed dialing. Looking up numbers and just calling. I was really stressed. The kid was in the back [of the car], and just starting to fall asleep. [I’m thinking] OK, at least she’s comfortable enough I can go hunt this down. Man, it was really stressful.”

Schott counted 18 pharmacies on her call list before she found a Sam’s Club in Loveland that had the drug, and promised her she didn’t have to be a member to use their pharmacy.

“Liquid gold,” Schott said, holding the bottle of amoxicillin at her home Wednesday night. “You expect to go to the doctor and get something to feel better. And then when that’s not a resource available – it was really scary.”

After a few days of medication, Schott said Zayla is already feeling better. She celebrated her fifth birthday this week and got to spend some time shopping with grandma.

Credit: Aselyn Schott
Zayla Schott is feeling better and celebrating her birthday after being sick for several days.

Schott said she is relieved they found the medication but frustrated by the process.

“If [the pharmacies] can tell who has it in stock so we're not the ones doing that work, it would have been a lot easier,” she said. “Instead of making the moms do all the work with the sick kiddo that we're trying to get to feel better, while I’m not feeling well either.”


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