Steve Moore, a pharmacist in the city of Toronto, still receives daily phone calls from people who have ADHD and ask if he has Adderall on hand. Moore will occasionally have visitors from out of town.
Moore, the owner of Condo Pharmacy, a small town in New York just south of Canada’s border, said, “It is a long drive.”
Moore must turn them away. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s Drug Shortage Database, some doses won’t be available until at least mid-May, a full month later than previous estimates.
Moore stated that he wanted to help everyone he could, but if a patient needed a particular product, he would make sure to get it for them.
The FDA first confirmed a nationwide shortage of Adderall in October, after a surge in demand for the attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder drug during the coronavirus pandemic. Although the supply issues have improved, some pharmacies still report that they cannot keep Adderall or generic versions on hand.
People with ADHD, who require the drug, are forced to switch to other medications or wait for several weeks before they can get their prescriptions.
Mike Koelzer is a pharmacist at Kay Pharmacy in Grand Rapids. He said, “We receive calls asking if the medication we are selling is in stock. We have to tell people that we do not.”
Koelzer stated that the shortage had hurt his business because he didn’t have enough stock for his regular clients, which forced them to look elsewhere for the drug.
Even though his pharmacy may provide Ritalin and other ADHD medications from time to time, they are in limited supply.
Koelzer said that people are often worried and frustrated when they can’t find the medicine they need.
He said, “We have no good answers other than to continue checking back or try another pharmacy.” It’s been a tough situation for us as well as our customers.
How long will there be a shortage?
The problem with the supply could continue for a few weeks or even longer. According to the FDA drug shortage database some generic versions of Adderall from Alvogen are expected to run out until the end of this month or the middle of May. According to the FDA, it is not expected that Granules Pharmaceuticals will have Adderall available until mid-May.
Teva Pharmaceuticals is the largest Adderall supplier in the United States. In a recent statement, Teva Pharmaceuticals said that there are no manufacturing problems or shortages. However, it did note that some patients and pharmacies in the U.S. may experience “intermittent delay” when getting the medication. NBC News has contacted all 10 companies listed in the FDA database as having shortages.
Michael Ganio is the senior director of Pharmacy Practice at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. The organization tracks drug shortages and first learned about Adderall supply issues about a month ago.
He said that at the time, the manufacturers blamed the problem on a lack workers. Since then, the manufacturers have tried to increase production with varying success.
Adderall, a controlled substance, is regulated by Drug Enforcement Administration. This agency sets limits for how much active ingredient drugmakers can produce within a certain timeframe. He said drugmakers need to get DEA approval before going over their quotas.
He said that it was difficult for manufacturers to assess the rise in demand. Some drugmakers had stopped selling their drugs to new clients.
Meanwhile, pharmacies adapt. CVS Health and Walgreens have said that they are aware of shortages and continue to work with patients or suppliers to meet demand.
Matt Blanchette said, in a CVS Health statement, that pharmacists would work with patients prescribed the medication as necessary.
The other pharmacies will be forced to continue turning away patients.
Benjamin Jolley is a pharmacist at Jolley’s Compounding Pharmacy, located in Salt Lake City. He said that the pharmacy does not accept any new clients.
On Wednesday morning he was able buy 10 bottles Adderall, the first time in two weeks that he’d been able buy it.
The wholesaler texted and said, “Hey! We’ve got some for you if you’re interested.” “Go buy it now.
This purchase will allow the dozen people who use his pharmacy to fill their prescriptions.
Jolley stated that the product was hard to find.
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