Monday, July 1, 2013

Drug Shortage Appears to be Growing

by Ruth Hughes, PhD

In just the few short weeks since my last blog, we have seen the shifting demand for methylphenidate generic products (Ritalin) grow from a shortage in two companies to six companies today. Pharmacists are finding it harder to order and it is taking longer to fill orders. The number of complaints coming to CHADD and to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is also growing.

But most telling are the early responses to our survey asking patients, parents, and physicians to tell us if they are experiencing shortage problems in their area. Forty-four percent of the respondents are experiencing problems getting prescriptions filled for generic versions of Ritalin or other stimulant medications.

But we still need your help to define the scope of the shortage. We need to increase the overall number of respondents before taking this information to the federal government. Please fill out this short survey immediately and tell us about your experience. If you are a parent, please answer the patient questions. We need to hear from you even if you are having no problems, so we can gauge how serious any growing shortage might be. The survey will only take a few minutes to fill out and can help us ensure that there is an adequate supply of stimulant medication available.

CHADD and AACAP are poised to take action. Due to our concerns on this issue in 2012, the FDASIA law now contains a mechanism for addressing shortages that of medications that come under the purview of the Drug Enforcement Agency. The Secretary of Health and Human Services (FDA’s mother agency) can request the Attorney General of the Justice Department (DEA’s mother agency) to consider what actions the DEA should take to address the shortage and respond in 30 days. We already have a meeting scheduled with the FDA and will be asking for a meeting with Secretary Sebelius once we have a large enough response rate to the survey.

In the meantime, what can you do? You may have to call several pharmacies to find one in your area that has medication available. Report your shortage to the Food and Drug Administration by emailing with the specific name of the medication, the dosage and where you are located. And most importantly, please click HERE to complete this short survey by July 8. We will keep you updated on the scope of the shortage and our actions to address it.

Ruth Hughes, PhD, is CEO of CHADD.

3 comments: said...

Hi Ruth,

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Anonymous said...

Ruth you were quoted in the NYT article

“Medication helps a person be receptive to learning new skills and behaviors,” said Ruth Hughes, a psychologist and the chief executive of the advocacy group Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. “But those skills and behaviors don’t magically appear. They have to be taught.”

I believe we have over emphasized the efficacy of medications at the cost of other "critical services" for which medications are not effective. As an ADDer I can tell you that for me it's all about "learning the new skills" and getting the proper supports in place for success.

I had the pleasure of talking to you over the phone about the lack of a "diagnosis code" to cover ADHD Coaching services for adults.

This NYT article clearly illustrates one of the things I've had to advocate for myself on for over twenty years...the importance of "skills and behavior services."

I hope this article will help to shape public opinion around the importance of support services and the lack of coverage problems. As we look at wellness/prevention models to save Health Care dollars I would argue we can see great cost savings by focusing on "skills/behaviors." Perhaps we need to put everything in the correct balance.

Yours truly,


Anonymous said...

I just saw this blog/survey posted from last summer. I had an issue several months ago filling either my own or my daughter's Vyvanse script and had to go to another pharmacy, though it was still another CVS.