Product Liability

DEA questions drug companies’ claims of Adderall shortages

Shortages of Adderall, a drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder (ADHD), are raising questions about whether the drug is being overprescribed, or if the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is being too tough on manufacturers by keeping the quantities of the medication at bay.

Several drug companies manufacture Adderall, including Shire Plc, Novartis, Teva and CorePharma LLC. According to Reuters, prescriptions for the drug increased 13.4 percent between 2009 and 2010 in an effort to meet an increasing diagnoses of ADHD in school-aged children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 9.5 percent, or 5.4 million kids have been diagnosed with ADHD since 2007.

As the prescriptions for Adderall increase, drug companies are hard pressed to meet that demand. Not because they are physically unable, but because of DEA restrictions, which limit the production of controlled substances that can potentially be abused.

Adderall, a stimulant that has the opposite effect when given to children and adults with ADHD, has fallen into the ranks of recreation drugs.

Adderall manufacturers are asking the DEA for more generous quotas, but the DEA is skeptical. The agency believes there is plenty of supply and that drug companies are using the shortage as a ploy to squeeze out generic competition.

Yet, consumers are complaining daily that they have been turned down by several pharmacies while trying to fill prescriptions for the drug. This has led the Food and Drug Administration to add Adderall to its list of drug shortages, a high priority item considering President Obama recently signed an executive order to ease drug shortages. These shortages, Obama said, drive up the cost of drugs and threaten Americans’ health and safety.

Source: ABC News