Could the Adderall shortage impact the workplace?

Adderall prescriptions popped during the pandemic.

Whispers about the difficulty of obtaining Adderall have been circulating among patients for months.

Could the Adderall shortage impact the workplace?

Last week, the FDA officially confirmed their fears — the drug and its generic versions are in short supply, per The Wall Street Journal.

Notorious on college campuses as a study drug…

… Adderall is a stimulant used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In recent years, a couple factors have led to increased usage in the workplace:

  • Increased diagnoses: ADHD is ~2x as common today among US children as it was in the 1980s, and many patients continue their prescription after entering the workforce.
  • Virtual prescriptions: In 2020, the federal government passed legislation allowing patients to get Adderall prescribed virtually, which telehealth startups like Cerebral took advantage of.

Further, a rise in prescriptions among 22- to 44-year-olds during the pandemic revealed many didn’t actually have a formal ADHD diagnosis.

This sudden rise in prescriptions led to increased demand — a problem for pharmaceutical companies with strict manufacturing quotas.

So what’s next?

Increased demand is just one part of the problem.

  • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the largest supplier of Adderall in the US, says a labor shortage on its packaging line has slowed production, resulting in low supply.

For patients, that means it could be a while before that next prescription is filled.

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Topics: Coronavirus

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