As Adderall shortage enters 2nd year, lawmakers press FDA and DEA for update

As the nationwide shortage of Adderall and other meds for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drags on, several members of Congress are pushing for more transparency and urgency from regulators on their mitigation efforts.

While FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, M.D., and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) head Anne Milgram recently inked a joint letter calling on manufacturers to increase production, Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Virginia, and 14 other representatives say more must be done.

The lawmakers asked Califf and Milgram to provide an update on the progress that's been made since the officials penned their joint letter in August. They're also asking what actions Congress might be able to take to address the situation.

While the representatives acknowledge that the agencies have made headway in the broader ADHD medicine shortage through efforts such as approving generics to Takeda’s Vyvanse and raising the production quota for Johnson & Johnson's Concerta, Adderall specifically has been at a standstill.

In September, the National Community Pharmaceutics Association found that 94% of independent pharmacies have reported shortages of Adderall or its generics, illustrating the “dire situation” at hand, Spanberger said.

“We cannot allow this to be the continuing reality for Americans across the country,” Spanberger wrote in the letter (PDF).

Although the FDA officially announced the Adderall shortage last October, it began last August when the U.S.’ top supplier, Teva, began struggling to keep up with heightened demand amid a spike in ADHD diagnoses. By October, seven out of the nine U.S. suppliers had reported their own shortages.

In their August letter, the FDA and the DEA officials pointed a finger at industry players, emphasizing that “this is not a problem that the FDA and DEA can solve on our own.”

In addition, the agency chiefs said physicians, payers and providers should closely monitor prescriptions for stimulants due to the “widespread misuse."

The recent congressional letter follows a request for action on drug shortages from 11 Republican governors. In an August letter, the governors called on Congress to adopt policy solutions to ensure a stable medicine supply.