‘Beyond unacceptable’: Stress grows over mysterious shortage of Adderall, antibiotics

Mysterious critical shortages of the ADHD drug Adderall and the antibiotic amoxicillin are striking the United States, putting individuals at mental and physical risk, while demand and foreign supply of raw materials are being blamed.

(Video Credit: FOX 35 Orlando)

The supply chain for certain medications has broken down leaving empty shelves and pharmacists struggling with the demand. The shortages set in during the pandemic and have steadily grown worse, according to NBC News. The Adderall shortage started sometime around last October and the amoxicillin shortage has also been dragging on for months.

Drugmakers don’t have much of an explanation for the shortages except to blame demand. Some pharmacists are blaming the shortage on a lack of raw materials from India and China, according to NBC News.

The demand for amoxicillin has become urgent due to the so-called tripledemic of COVID, respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and an aggressive strain of the flu that are converging this season.

Experts contend that drug companies face few repercussions for not disclosing key information about the production of these medications, thus putting consumers at their mercy with no requirement to disclose why they are not available.

Telehealth companies have reportedly failed in their attempt to expand access to ADHD medication. The shortages are now spreading to other ADHD medications such as Ritalin.

Dr. Henry Hasson, a New York-based child psychiatrist who specializes in treating ADHD, says the current medication shortage is “by far the worst that’s ever been. Almost all the meds are out of stock,” even non-stimulants like guanfacine, a non-controlled ADHD medication that’s also used to treat high blood pressure. It’s become a routine for his patients and staff to call multiple pharmacies for every order, with nonproductive results most of the time.

“Every once in a while you find maybe 10 pills here or 10 pills there, but it’s not easy,” Hasson stated, according to The Guardian.

“It’s very opaque,” said Erin Fox, a senior pharmacy director at the University of Utah Health based in Salt Lake City. “Medications are one of the things we purchase and spend large amounts of money on, but we have no idea where they’re made or even which company is making them.”

The Food and Drug Administration currently lists amoxicillin and Adderall, also known as mixed amphetamine salts, as being in short supply. For amoxicillin, the reason for the shortages by drugmakers either states “demand increase for drug” or “other.” As for Adderall, one company’s description says the drug is “back-ordered” and another says there will be “supply constraints through January 2023.”

Teva, one of the largest generic drugmakers in the world, has blamed the shortage of Adderall on a temporary labor shortage and said there would be intermittent delays. In October, the FDA claimed Teva was continuing to experience “ongoing intermittent manufacturing delays,” and that there was not yet sufficient supply from other manufacturers to meet US market demand.

Forbes is reporting that although the FDA’s drug shortage database now lists most dosages of Teva Adderall as available, other manufacturers including Alvogen, Rhodes Pharmaceuticals, and SpecGX, do not have available Adderall or are facing supply constraints through the spring, according to the database.

The antibiotic shortages seem to be widespread and have no explanation whatsoever.

Michelle Bauman, who is a representative of the Swiss American generic medications company Sandoz, a unit of Novartis, told NBC News it is facing “a significant demand uptake resulting in a supply situation for some of our Sandoz antibiotic medicines,” such as amoxicillin and its alternatives.

“The combination in rapid succession of the pandemic impact and consequent demand swings, manufacturing capacity constraints, scarcity of raw materials, and the current energy crisis means we currently face a uniquely difficult situation,” Bauman contended.

Charlotte pharmacist Greg Deese told WCNC that it’s been the hardest season he’s had in 40 years as a pharmacist. He said he’s dealing with it the best he can.

As medication shortages continue to rage in the US, patients are rationing pills to try and get by. Parents in some areas are having to hunt to find over-the-counter pain- and fever-reducing medications for their sick children, according to CNN.

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