F.D.A. Confirms Widespread Shortages of Adderall

F.D.A. Confirms Widespread Shortages of Adderall

While a number of companies make Adderall and generic versions, pharmacies may find it difficult to pivot to other suppliers because of amphetamine’s status as a controlled substance that typically includes restrictions on its use and monitoring of prescription orders. Any given pharmacy might risk raising red flags with the Drug Enforcement Administration by doubling its supply, said Erin Fox, an expert on drug shortages at the University of Utah.

“With a controlled substance, it’s harder for patients to call around and find a pharmacy that has product for them,” Ms. Fox said.

Dr. Goodman said patients report almost every day that they are unable to get prescriptions filled. He said his office has had to reissue them in different dosages to help patients receive treatment. Even then, some come up short and, without their medications, may miss deadlines or forget important tasks if they are working in a high-pressure situation.

There is little data on start-up telehealth companies that have drawn criticism for rapidly prescribing a variety of medications, including Adderall.

One such company is Cerebral, which is based in San Francisco. A former vice president of Cerebral, Matthew Truebe, filed a wrongful termination suit against his former employer, claiming that a company goal was to prescribe stimulants to 100 percent of the company’s A.D.H.D. patients, something he considered “not safe or legal,” according to court records. Mr. Truebe also claimed the company had duplicate patients in its database, suggesting that some were seeking prescriptions to resell.

Cerebral, valued at over $1.2 billion this summer, said in a court filing that Mr. Truebe was not fired as an act of retaliation, but because he was a “poor performer.” The company has received a subpoena from federal investigators reviewing its compliance with the Controlled Substances Act. A Cerebral rival, called Done, is also facing Drug Enforcement Administration scrutiny, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Chris Savarese, a spokesman for Cerebral, said the company had ceased prescribing controlled substances to new patients and had not been accused by any government agency of wrongdoing.

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