Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Update On The Recent Adderall Shortage Nov 2nd

Well folks, while the 3 month shortage of Adderall hasn't gotten better; although I believe we've hit the grim, proverbial rock bottom. Hopefully things are begining to finally level off. In other words, it can't get any worse. (or can it?) I'm an optimist. So let's think that pill bottle is half full...?

I have heard many reasons for the shortage. There are many, varied theories why this is happening. These range anywhere from the government is controlling the amount of amphetamine it gives to the drug companies to put in the medication-to good old fashion price fixing and collusion by the drug companies in pursuit of more of the all mighty buck. Today my doctor told me a new excuse: Apparently the is a lawsuit between 2 companies that are vying for the exclusive generic rights to the drug, and Shire, the company that owns the patent has somehow gotten involved.

What is most alarming, there are rumors that one of the generic companies is taking full advantage(and then some) of the 20% range leeway in either direction, that generic companies are allowed by law with the strength. Meaning one day you could take a pill that is 20% more potent than Shire's original, DEA and FDA approved levels of the amphetamine salts. Then a day later, you my take a pill that is 20% weaker than the recommended levels. If you do the math, that's a possible 40% swing in potency! That can cause more than a little disruption in your daily cognitive functioning. Almost to the point of being dangerous, and certainly crossing the threshold of being disruptive and annoying. Factor in price increases anywhere from 30-150%, and it is bordering on a risk/reward ratio that makes one consider doing without this drug many of us are nearly lost without!

One positive thought I have heard from multiple sources, is that the situation should have a solution by the New Year. That seems to be the wishful(and hopefully accurate) consensus. Unfortunately most are of the opinion that the recent price increases will stay to some extent anyway. I don't see many of us abandoning the drug because of this. The geniuses that invent better living through chemistry, invented a very effective, and admittedly addictive  drug. Guess what? The drug companies know this, and will use this leverage to take ADD/ADHD sufferers to the point of no return. That line where the benefits make Adderall necessary for day-to-day productivity; in some cases it makes individuals prolific. So much of an upside, that many, if not most, will cross the line and knowingly pay their ridiculous prices.The nauseating taste of price gouging served cold. Few of us will take a stand and starve however. We will eat that bitter pill so to speak.

I salute those with the resolve to say "NO!" I wish I could be that strong, and investigate some cheaper, alternative method of treating my ADD. Unfortunately, without Adderall, I can't hardly get through the day-get out of the house even, so researching, then beginning a new regimen, is impossible for this scatterbrain...

I got off point a bit there. Shocker huh?

Basically,those of us reliant on this medication, could care less what really is causing this crippling shortage. We just want it resolved soon. Obama told the FDA yesterday to resolve these drug shortages. I think his mandate will do a damn thing.

For what it's worth, here is some additional information I gathered from a news agency yesterday...

Pharmacists across the country say Adderall, a drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD, has been put on back-order, and/or is in short supply.
One pharmacy says the situation has brought in new patients shopping around to find the drug.
"We are having a lot of people who are going ahead and dishing out the money for it though. They'll pay for it," said Lewis Overbay, a pharmacist with Long's Drugs on Millwood Avenue.
One says he noticed the problem during the summer, but it's grown more critical recently. As you might guess, he's seen a price increase along with the shortage.
"Well, there's definitely a shortage," said Overbay. "We've been able to keep a little supply here, but it goes very fast."
He says it's hard to stay stocked with Adderall or its generic form.
According to Overbay, on some days, the pharmacy takes 15 to 20 calls from people looking for the drug.
He says when the Millwood store has the pills on the shelves, they can see five to 10 new patients just looking for the medicine, a group that he says is mostly 18 to 30-years-old.
"You would think it'd be a lot more of the kids in school things like that but really not, we don't get the calls from parents we get the calls from college kids and the younger adults believe it or not," said Overbay.
Dr. Robin Welsh, a child and adolescent phychitrist says not taking the medicine regularly can leave patients unfocused and lead to behavior problems in children, but she says you could ease the situation with a different prescription from your doctor.
"There are many other stimulants, and neurochemically, these medications work the same or similarly in the brain. So, in fact, if you cannot get Adderall, that's what I would recommend going to your physician," said Welsh.
She and Overbay both expect the shortage to improve after the new year, but until then, Overbay says patients are willing to shell out more to get the medicine.
"It's pretty remarkable how people are looking for this drug, and like I said, the urgency that they seem to have to get it, they're very needy of this drug for sure," said Overbay.
Overbay says the medication jumped in price by $1.50 to $1.75 per pill.
He says for someone without insurance, or access to the generic form, a month supply of 60 pills has gone from costing about $30 to anywhere between $150 to $200.
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