Nation-wide Adderall shortage affecting local pharmacies

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - There’s a shortage of Adderall across the country. That’s the drug used to help treat ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

It’s impacting pharmacies big and small across our area, making it incredibly difficult for customers to get prescriptions filled.

“We get phone calls, probably 20 or 30 a day. ‘Do you have Adderall?’ And the answer to the phone call is going to be, no,” Majoria Drugs Pharmacist Al Spitale said.

Spitale says they get people coming from as far as Baton Rouge looking for Adderall.

“They’ll say, ‘I can’t work without this. I can’t, you know, I feel bad because we were here to fill prescriptions,” Spitale said.

He says they have a regular customer base they have to make sure they care for first and they sometimes have to turn them away as well.

“We’ll order a dozen bottles and we get three, Spitale said. “We ordered a dozen bottles the next day, we get four, you know, we never get our full complement so we never can catch up.”

It’s the same case at Vinnie’s Pharmacy.

“Everybody that comes in says I’ve been to many different stores, including the chains and the independents and it’s just like I said, there is no choice because nobody has it,” Pharmacist Vincent Polizzio said.

In August, more than six in ten small pharmacies reported having difficulty getting the medication according to a survey from the National Community Pharmacists Association.

“We just keep an eye out every day, check their stock and see when it’s going to be available and if we can get it and that’s that’s pretty much the only thing we can do it until it becomes available again,” Polizzio said.

While this recent wave has been going on for over a month now, this isn’t a new problem.

Adderall has often been in short supply over recent years while demand for the medication is at an all-time high for adults who need to focus at work and kids who need it in the classroom.

“You don’t know how long it’s gonna be and it makes for a lot of bad feelings and a lack of routine that the kids need and that everybody expects,” Dr. Martin Drell, LSU Health Child Psychiatrist said.

Labor shortages combined with a strictly regulated market, due to the medication’s Schedule 2 classification, are largely the cause of the shortage, on and off since 2019.

there are quotas on how much Adderall can be made and how much pharmacies can fill.

While many try to compensate with other stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, some physicians across the country are warning people not to turn to the streets to get their adderall because you never know what you are actually getting.

Drell recommends working with your doctor to see if another medication or version of it can be prescribed and always call the pharmacy before you go in to make sure they have it in stock.

Some pharmacists we’ve spoken to say they are having trouble getting similar medications because a lot of people are switching.

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