Nationally millions of sufferers, many of them children, have the quality of their lives improved dramatically with the development of effective drugs for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD. This condition can have such a severe impact on the lives of children with the disorder that their future potential and abilities may be drastically affected with the effects sometimes continuing to blight their adult lives.
Fortunately, there are now a number of drugs available which can be prescribed to reduce many of the symptoms. Taking these drugs can help the ability to focus and calm the sufferer, thus assisting with the problem of unacceptable behaviour and reduction of stress so often an outcome of the condition. A number of these drugs have become available from different pharmaceutical companies and the treatments cover a wide spectrum of cost for the different preparations. The variation in cost between the less expensive generic drugs and the specific named medications is significant. However a problem has arisen with the availability of the essential drugs used to treat the ADHD condition and especially with the availability of the less expensive type of generic drugs.
The difficulty is concerned with the fact that there is a growing tide of abuse of these drugs. Most people will be familiar with criminal cases focusing on the misuse of drugs developed for the treatment of ADHD such a Ritalin which has been widely reported for its in producing a drug induced ‘high’or as a stimulant to extend the takers ability to reduce the need for sleep. This is a particular problem amongst college students.
In order to manage the abuse problem the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issues set production quotas to the manufacturers of these drugs in relation to their usage in the previous twelve months. These quotas are meant to be an effective tool to monitor supply and deter abuse. It is up to the Manufacturers as to how they allocate the production quota alloted to them and they are free to decide how many of the cheaper generic or the more costly brand name drugs they will produce to make up that quota.
Current information is that the pharmaceutical companies producing medication for ADHD have reported that supplies are limited and the FDA has now listed the drugs on their official shortages list. Concern has also been expressed by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry who are reporting that the problem is covering many states and is warning of the severe effects of these shortages for the children who need them.
The FDA attributes the scarcity of the drugs to over restrictive quotas which have been set by the DEA, however the DEA are questioning the nature of the shortages. It maintains that there may not be a shortage of all of these drugs but only in the availability of the cheaper drugs. This would mean that drug manufacturers are choosing to designate more of their allocated quota to production of a greater number of the expensive drug brands. This problem is the subject of ongoing discussion between the two authorities with the FDA are confirming the shortage problems but placing the onus of action onto the DEA who hold the responsibility for the allocation of quotas.