Drug shortages such as Adderall are increasing within the United States, and experts do not have a clear plan for solving them. For patients, it could lead to delays in treatment or medication switching and other issues when filling out a prescription.
In the last few months, sudden production problems, demand increases, and the shortage of ingredient supplies caused shortages that have put pressure on parents, patients, and medical professionals. For certain medications, like stimulants to treat ADHD, numerous factors have contributed to the shortage, making it difficult to determine when it will end.
In particular, shortages of generic medications have been a persistent problem for a long time. The industry has grown, and certain manufacturers have no incentive to address shortages since cheap generics make small profits.
HOW MANY DRUG SHORTAGES ARE THERE?
The number of active nationwide shortages of drugs in the first quarter in the University of Utah Drug Information Service. That’s 49% more than the 202 reported in the first quarter 2018.
Patients need to be made aware of the same shortage of drugs because doctors might be able to substitute different medicines or other components of the supply chain for drugs to cover up the problem, according to Stephen Schondelmeyer, a University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy professor.
In the fall, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced a shortage of the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder treatment Buying Adderall 30 Online due to a manufacturing problem. The problem has remained and grown, sometimes adding other stimulants used to help treat the condition.
According to University of Utah Health researcher Erin Fox, the situation appears to be improving. However, several extended-release dosages of the drug, which is its most popular type, are still unavailable.
The FDA also has been tracking an absence of diabetes medication Ozempic that doctors prescribe to help with weight loss. The prescriptions for Ozempic, which are praised by celebrities and other users on social media, have increased by more than a third from this summer to over 1.2 million, according to the company that collects health information IQVIA.
A spokeswoman from Ozempic manufacturer Novo Nordisk says all drug doses are available in pharmacies nationwide.
The year before, a rise in respiratory illness forced drugstore chains to temporarily restrict purchases of medicine that can reduce fever in children. An insufficiency of the antibiotic amoxicillin also arose in the middle of the year.
Injectable medicines used in clinics and hospitals, for example, IV saline and some cancer treatments, are twice as likely as topical therapies to suffer shortages, as per an article written by a Senator. Gary Peters, D-Mich. Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
WHY DO DRUG SHORTAGES DEVELOP?
There are many reasons why the combination of these causes can cause various shortages. The Adderall manufacturing issue began to manifest with increasing numbers of people taking the medication.
During the pandemic, prescriptions increased as regulators began permitting doctors to give the medicine without meeting with patients in person. The number of drugs to Adderall or its generic counterparts increased by 20 percent between Feb. 2020 and the last day of the year, as per the IQVIA.
Adderall supplies are also subject to a problem when demand increases. Federal authorities limit the collection of the drug every year because the drug is considered a controlled compound.
Price could also be a factor when it comes to certain medicines.
Ozempic is a drug for diabetes. The same medication, semaglutide, is available under another label, Wegovy, which is a weight-loss medication. Schondelmeyer pointed out that the price per milligram for Wegoby can be nearly double that of Ozempic.
“They’ve been having a run on Ozempic because people don’t want to spend that much on Wegoby,” Schondelmeyer explained.
Novo Nordisk spokeswoman Allison Schneider stated that the price was unrelated to the supply shortage. She attributed it to a mix of supply and demand limitations.
Another reason behind shortages: The use of medicines such as Buy Adderall 30mg Online and amoxicillin produce small profit margins, which means companies aren’t compelled to create and store large quantities if needed, Fox said.
“Once a shortage starts with something you make just in time anyway, it’s tough to resolve it unless all the suppliers are back,” she added.
HOW ARE PATIENTS AFFECTED BY DRUG SHORTAGES?
The lack of supply could cause delays in treatment that could affect patients with chronic illnesses that require time, such as cancer.
Doctors can be ordered to prescribe other medications that may need to be more efficient. It can also result in mistakes with medication when the doctor is not acquainted with the medicines.
Patients may also have to run out of prescriptions or search for a pharmacy that stocks enough supplies to refill their prescriptions.
Knowing when shortages will be addressed is challenging, mainly because measuring demand is complicated.
“You can estimate you’re going to increase your production by 10%,” said Mike Ganio, senior director of quality and practice in pharmacy at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, “but is that going to be enough?”
In the meantime, conditions that could cause future shortages remain. The Senate report also cited an excessive dependence on foreign resources as a problem.
Factories located in China and India are the primary source of ingredients used in American medicine.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, India prohibited the export of active ingredients from 13 pharmaceuticals and processed drugs derived from those chemicals to safeguard the supply of its drugs.
When shortages start to develop, the problem can persist for several years. It can be difficult for patients to find accurate information. Fox stated that drug companies are not legally required to inform the public about their latest developments.
The Senate report states that “no federal agency or private industry partner has end-to-end visibility into the entire U.S. pharmaceutical supply chain.”
Fox says that the shortage of stimulants is especially troubling. The companies have complained that they’re not receiving enough raw materials to manufacture the drugs, while the Federal government has said firms aren’t using their resources.
“There’s been a lot of finger-pointing back and forth,” Fox stated.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department is supported by Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is the sole source of the content.