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Empty pharmacy shelves, rising prices frustrating Houstonians

More and more people in the Houston area are noticing empty pharmacy shelves.

HOUSTON — People across the Houston area seem to be having the same problem.

They’re running into near-empty cold and flu medicine shelves at local pharmacies.

One Pearland resident said her husband had to go to several stores to get her meds.

"He went to get me Mucinex. He had to get generic and he had to go to three different stores," Brenda Jones said.

One man in The Woodlands said he ran into the same issue while he was picking up meds for a client.

"You can't find one thing and you normally go to a generic and they are not there which makes me more upset," Curtis Newman said.

It’s not just those empty shelves some are noticing, it’s the prices.

"The price went up on everything," Jones said.

"I just can't believe we are being almost double charged for it," Newman said.

Doctors said it’s no surprise the shelves are running low since they’re seeing more and more COVID cases daily.

"The city of Houston is talking about 38% positivity. I am going to publish our own statistics that we are about 50%," said Dr. Joseph Varon the Chief of COVID-19 at United Memorial Medical Center.

So what can you do if you can't find that flu and cold medicine you’re looking for?

"You can enhance your immune system with vitamin D, zinc, and melatonin. Simple things you can find in most pharmacies," Varon said.

You should also contact your health provider to get something prescribed. You can also try simple things like drinking plenty of water.

Doctors said the most important thing is to never mix and match any medications without consulting your doctor.

"If you try honey and that stuff, that might make sense, but some people start mixing medications and that can really get you into trouble," Varon said.

The bottom line is to always ask your doctor before you take anything.

We reached out to Walgreens, CVS and HEB but have not heard back from them yet.