Monday, January 16, 2012

Attention-Deficit Drugs in Short Supply

by Cybil Atencion, TYDN Mental Affairs Writer
WASHINGTON -- (TYDN) Medicines to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are in short supply, TheYellowDailyNews has learned, leaving patients so worried about their next dose that they have begun taking anxiety drugs. 

The shortages are a result of an oversight by drug manufacturers, and a Drug Enforcement Administration paying no attention to thousands of consumer complaints. Analysts, speaking on condition of anonymity to TheYellowDailyNews and granted anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said it's the first time a shortage of attention-deficit drugs was paid no attention to by government regulators and drug manufacturers. 

"We have never seen this," a well-placed government official with direct knowledge of the shortage said on condition of anonymity. "Wait, what was the question again? Can you repeat the question?" 

Caught in between are millions of children and adults who rely on the pills to help them stay focused and calm. Shortages, particularly of cheaper generics, have become so endemic that some patients say they worry almost constantly about availability, forcing them to pop anxiety medications as well.

According to an investigation by TheYellowDailyNews, which should have been published six months ago but wasn't because of an oversight, the Food and Drug Administration forgot to monitor the supply of the drugs, which are sold both as generics and under brand names like Ritalin and Adderall. All the while, according to the study by TheYellowDailyNews, the most exhaustive study of its kind almost never published, the Drug Enforcement Administration overlooked increasing manufacturing quotas, despite complaints from pill-popping consumers. 

What's more, TheYellowDailyNews investigation found that the government forgot to analyze how much of the attention-deficit disorder drugs were sold the previous year, meaning it could not allot portions of the expected demand to various companies for production. And the drug manufacturers themselves lost track of the supply chain, meaning nobody was paying attention to the dwindling supply of attention-deficit medications, TheYellowDailyNews' study concluded. 

Some analysts suggested the shortage was due, in part, to the mushrooming number of people taking attention-deficit medications. 

Doctors wrote 51.5 million prescriptions for such drugs in 2010, with a total sales value of $7.42 billion — an increase of 83 percent since 2006, according to IMS Health, a drug information company. 

One government official, with direct knowledge of the debacle, speaking to TheYellowDailyNews on condition of anonymity, said the issue was overblown. 

"Besides," the official said, "everybody will forget about it in a few days."
Photo: mirjoran/Flickr