Addressing and solving the ongoing medication shortage remains a top advocacy priority for CHADD on behalf of our members. CHADD’s public policy committee has been pursuing and continues to pursue all appropriate channels to encourage policymakers to understand why critical stimulant medications have been in short supply for more than a year, and what elected officials can to do to resolve the problem.
CHADD believes the US Congress is key to resolving this public health crisis. In conversations with lawmakers and regulators, our public policy committee members have stressed that stimulant medications, and all ADHD medications, are life-sustaining.
The public policy committee reached out to Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to discuss the shortage and the real-world effect ADHD has on the lives of people with the condition. Research shows that, compared to the general population, people with untreated ADHD have a shorter lifespan and are much more susceptible to suffering severe accidental injuries, driving accidents, substance use disorders, obesity, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, suicide, and more. Research has also shown economic costs of ADHD range from $143 to $266 billion each year.
CHADD’s public policy committee also requested that the FDA include ADHD medications on its essential medications list and proposed that bills to address various shortages specifically include the medications for ADHD.
Senator Wyden has responded, pushing the US Drug Enforcement Administration to take action. At the beginning of the month, the DEA announced that it met with the manufacturers of stimulant medications, pointing out the manufacturers had not produced the full amount of medication, based on the amount of active ingredient allotted, that they could have made. Seventeen of the eighteen manufacturers assured the DEA that they will increase the production of medication and use the entire amount of active ingredients allotted to them.
The DEA is requiring the manufacturers to provide frequent updates on medication production. Among the agreements made with the DEA is that manufacturers and medication distributors will report monthly on the amount of medication produced and shipped. Their reports will specify how much of the allowed amounts of active ingredients will be for domestic use or exported, which will allow the DEA to track how much of the medications will be available for Americans.
The DEA, in a letter, has assured us it is working to make sure people who have been prescribed stimulant medications have access to them, and that it is continuing to work with its partners, both governmental and manufacturing, to make sure this happens.
The shortage is not over yet, but with these advancements, we hope to see an increase in the availability of the prescribed medications. CHADD and its public policy committee remain committed to finding a solution to this public health crisis and advocating for the ADHD community.