Hundreds of drugs are in short supply around the U.S., pharmacists warn

A growing number of drugs are in short supply around the U.S., according to pharmacists. 

In the first three months of the year, there were 323 active medication shortages, surpassing the previous high of 320 shortages in 2014, according to a survey by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and Utah Drug Information Service. It also amounts to the most shortages since the trade group started keeping track in 2001.

“All drug classes are vulnerable to shortages. Some of the most worrying shortages involve generic sterile injectable medications, including cancer chemotherapy drugs and emergency medications stored in hospital crash carts and procedural areas,” ASHP said in a statement

Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is among the medications that are hardest to track down. The Drug Enforcement Administration said last fall that more than a dozen manufacturers planned to hike production of the drug, which has been in short supply since October 2022, but the problem persists, the pharmacist group found. 

“Ongoing national shortages of therapies for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) also remains an issue for clinicians and patients,” they said. 

Contributing to the Adderall shortage include a spike in prescriptions during the pandemic, a key manufacturer experiencing production delays and other companies falling short on production targets. 

Most drug manufacturers did not disclose the factors behind the shortages, the group noted in its quarterly findings. But experts have pointed to demand outstripping supplies, manufacturing constraints and disruptions in supply lines for raw materials. 

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