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Darcy Blackman/Contributed Photo

Adderall shortage tests patience, paints ‘drug holiday’ in new light


By Nino Paoli

Published on 7/19/23

LA GRANDE — Nine months after the U.S. government announced a shortage of the main drug used to treat ADHD, local pharmacists, providers and patients still are struggling to fill generic Adderall prescriptions.

Local pharmacies send lists of what’s in stock to providers at Grande Ronde Hospital every day, helping individuals find what they're looking for — or reasonable alternatives — during the ongoing shortage. However, the process is time-intensive, frustrating and, sometimes, unfruitful, leading Eastern Oregon pharmacists to ask lawmakers for help, and causing more families to consider putting their children that are dealing with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder on a "drug holiday."

The government first announced the shortage of the immediate release formulation of amphetamine mixed salts — commonly referred to by the brand name Adderall or Adderall IR, taken two-to-three times a day — in October 2022. Although pharmacies and providers have tried to adjust to the ongoing crisis with daily communication, they say the system isn’t perfect and worry about the future.

“That would be a nightmare, if the problem doesn't resolve itself soon,” said Red Cross Drug Store Pharmacist Darcy Blackman.

Blackman said that a designated staff member checks their two manufacturers' stock “at least twice-a-day” for available generic Adderall, celebrating when they’re able to place an order before it’s all sold out.

She said that their manufacturers allocate the drug to prevent one pharmacy from stockpiling it, and portion out what’s available based on the previous order volume from each location — in effect, in-store stock is limited for both immediate and long-release generic Adderall, as well as less-effective alternative medications.

“You're basically getting (a prescription) order that you can't fulfill, and then reaching out to the patient to find out if they would like us to try to change it to something else, and then reaching out to the doctor to get them to change it to something else,” Blackman said. “If (doctors) can't turn it around and get it back to us in time, then by the time they do, we might be out of whatever we changed it to… It’s so time-consuming.”

Read the full article on The Observer's website here.

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