Lawmakers demand answers from FDA and DEA on Adderall shortage crisis

Lawmakers demand answers from FDA and DEA on Adderall shortage crisis

As the nationwide shortage of medications like Adderall for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) continues to persist, a group of Congressional members is urging regulatory agencies to enhance transparency and urgency in addressing this issue.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D., and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) head Anne Milgram recently co-authored a letter urging drug manufacturers to ramp up production to combat the shortage. However, Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and 14 other representatives believe that more comprehensive measures are required.

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These lawmakers are calling for an update on the progress made since the joint letter was issued in August. They are also inquiring about potential actions Congress can take to tackle this crisis. While they acknowledge some progress in addressing the broader shortage of ADHD medications, such as approving generics for Takeda’s Vyvanse and increasing production quotas for Johnson & Johnson’s Concerta, Adderall remains a particular concern.

In September, the National Community Pharmaceutics Association reported that 94% of independent pharmacies have faced shortages of Adderall or its generics, highlighting the severity of the situation. Rep. Spanberger emphasized the need to address this ongoing issue, stating, “We cannot allow this to be the continuing reality for Americans across the country.”

The official announcement of the Adderall shortage by the FDA dates back to October of the previous year, but the problem began in August when the primary US supplier, Teva, struggled to meet the rising demand coinciding with an increase in ADHD diagnoses. By October, seven out of the nine US suppliers had reported their own shortages.

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In their August letter, FDA and DEA officials pointed to industry players, emphasizing that the problem goes beyond what the FDA and DEA can solve independently. They also called on physicians, payers, and providers to closely monitor stimulant prescriptions due to concerns of widespread misuse.

This recent letter from Congress follows a similar plea from 11 Republican governors who, in an August letter, urged Congress to adopt policy solutions to ensure a stable supply of essential medications. The collective effort at the Congressional level underscores the urgency of addressing the ongoing shortage of ADHD medications.

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