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The Stimulant Shortage
The following appeared on June 2102 on the CHADD leadership web site
(CHADD = National Organization for Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- CHADD’s survey in January collected more than 5,500 responses. Forty-nine percent of our respondents were having serious difficulty getting prescriptions filled, and eighteen percent were forced to change to a new medication. Your participation in the survey gave us more information on the shortage than anyone else in the country. Thank you.
- CHADD and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry formed a coalition of concerned associations, which included several pharmacist groups as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and a number of mental health and ADHD groups.
- CHADD has been in regular communication with all the major pharmaceutical companies to understand the obstacles to manufacturing sufficient quantities of medication.
- CHADD leadership has met with staff for every key committee in both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate to make them aware of the seriousness of the problem.
- CHADD leadership and members of the coalition met with the staff of the Food and Drug Administration to determine their role.
- CHADD worked with the media to get the story out to the larger community. Literally hundreds of media outlets covered the story.
- And the coalition repeatedly asked for a meeting with the Drug Enforcement Agency. We are still waiting.
- In January, the DEA increased the quota for stimulant medications significantly. Because the pharmaceutical companies need time to then manufacture the medications, an increase in the availability of medications did not begin until this spring.
- The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee is investigating the role of the DEA in the shortage and has not yet released a report.
- Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa has asked the General Accounting Office to investigate the DEA’s role and report on their findings. While such a report can take up to a year, the GAO is known for even-handed, nonpartisan reports and good recommendations.
- The Prescription Drug User Fee Act of 2012 (PDUFA) was approved by the House last week and now faces one last vote in the Senate before going to the President. It instructs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to address medication shortages within thirty days. When the shortage involves a controlled medication, like stimulants, the Secretary has the authority to contact the Attorney General (the Secretary’s counterpart in the Department of Justice, which includes the DEA) and ask that the quota be increased. The Attorney General and the DEA must respond by either taking action or responding with a clear rationale for not increasing the quota. And all of this information must be made public. This is the first time a mechanism has been put in place to address a shortage before it becomes chronic.
But we want to be really, really sure that all of CHADD’s members and all people with ADHD have access to their medication. So we are asking each of you to take five minutes and fill out another survey. It is just as important to know that the problem has disappeared as it is to know whether you are still having difficulty getting prescriptions filled. We will not trust that the crisis has passed until you tell us. Please take a moment to let us know.
Ruth Hughes, PhD, CEO of CHADD
Dextroamphetamine IR/Dextrostat Price Increases
Users are reporting the price of a monthly prescription of dextroamphetamine, an 80 year old generic, quadrupled in December 2012 .\ Some pharmacies may have older stock and prices so their prices may be lower for a short time, but as they get new stock it will most likely be sold at the new higher price. We are not sure what is driving this massive price increase to the level of brand names, but one thing is clear. It is unacceptable. The DEA substantially increased the amount of active ingredients used to manufacture dextroamphetamine so short supply should no longer be an issue when it comes to price increases. This price increase comes following the appointment of a new CEO being appointed at the manufacturer, Teva.
In the meantime, if you are affected by these dextroamphetamine price increases, you can file a complaint with the FTC. The FTC monitors complaint volume on certain issues and takes action based on that volume. It is essential to make your voice heard if you can no longer afford your prescribed medication or are concerned about the welfare of others that need this medication. If you have insurance, the high prices may affect your ability to get the medication. To with the Federal Trade Commission, click here: ftc complaint assistant
You may also want to file a complaint with your state Attorney General. In the past state Attorney Generals have taken action independent of the FTC. Again, it is important to make your voice heard in this issue. Action is taken based on volume of complaints. You can find contact information, for your state Attorney General, at this link: state local government - 50 states attorney-general
When filing your complaint, with either the FTC or your state Attorney General, you should ask directly for an investigation into the dextroamphetamine price increases.
Dextroamphetamine IR was the most cost-effective medication available to treat ADHD, and this price increase will affect many people that relied on it. It leaves very few cost-effective options in the amphetamine class of medication. Please make your voice heard, and as we receive more information, we will update you through this website.
Some people have tried to get discounts on their medication on-line. Be careful because some of the offers scams. For more information, check the Better Business Website for information about one of the companies and reports of others, some of which are legitimate: http://nwnc.bbb.org/article/
If you have any information to share about this or would to keep up to date on stimulant availability and insurance prior authorization issues, please send your request to me at TheStimulantCoalition@Gmail.com. I regret that that volume of emails we get does not make it feasible for me to answer questions personally.
- by J Phillips for Adult ADD.Info
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