Labor Shortage Affects Drugstores' Adderall Supply

Chains report no problems, but many independents have to adapt
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2022 1:05 PM CDT
Independent Pharmacies Deal With Spotty Adderall Supply

A supply interruption is making it difficult for some independent pharmacies in the US to fill prescriptions for Adderall. There's no shortage overall of the attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder medication, the Food and Drug Administration has found. But one manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, said it's had a labor shortage on its packaging line, NBC News reports. The company said that the issue has been resolved and that it has an "active supply" of branded Adderall, as well as the generic version. But Teva said some pharmacies could be waiting for back orders, and the FDA advised that delays could continue for the next two to three months.

The big chains, including CVS and Walgreens, said they've had no issues. But a trade group found earlier this month that about 64% of 360 independent pharmacies reported having trouble getting enough of the medication. The proprietor of Roger's Family Pharmacy in Yankton, South Dakota, said some sizes have been running short. "It's often that they're not out entirely," Byron Olson said, per NBC. But patients and their doctors might have to switch to pills in sizes other than what they're used to. Another pharmacist said some patients have had to switch to generic.

US demand has more than doubled in the past decade, from about 19 million prescriptions a year in 2011 to 41 million last year, per Lifehacker. The pandemic contributed to the rise, with more people reporting mental health difficulties and the rise of telehealth companies making the filling of prescriptions easier. The medication treats ADHD, a neurodevelopmental condition whose symptoms include inattentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Patients having trouble getting Adderall and their physicians can consider other stimulants such as Ritalin, Focalin, or Vyvanse, as well as antidepressants Elavil and Wellbutrin. (More Adderall stories.)

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