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Worldwide shortage of ADHD medication impacts New Zealand patients

Worldwide shortage of ADHD medication impacts New Zealand patients


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Pharmac says there is no certainty about when a global supply issue affecting ADHD medication will be resolved.
Photo: 123RF

A global shortage of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication is affecting thousands of New Zealanders.

Pharmaceutical company Teva alerted Pharmac in September that it was facing a supply issue for the drug methylphenidate, due to a global increase in demand.

The shortage led to 4000 patients being given the Concerta brand of the drug instead.

Pharmac told RNZ there was no certainty about when the supply issue would be resolved but Teva stock of the drug was now starting to arrive back in the country.

“People who were previously on Methylphenidate ER – Teva will need to start switching back to this brand as there will not be enough stock of the Concerta for people to stay on that brand long-term.”

ADHD NZ chairperson Darrin Bull told RNZ Concerta was very similar and Pharmac had assured them there should be no issue with the change of drug.

“However, there’s always nuances to this and there will be some instances where people may not feel that it is just as effective or might feel some side-effects.”

He said they had not had any real issues or complaints with due to the shortage.

“There’s bigger issues in New Zealand for the ADHD community including access to diagnoses as well as better medication.”

He said Pharmac had been proactive about with dealing with the shortage.

Bull told RNZ he had seen pharmaceutical companies worldwide struggling to meet the demand.

That could be due to the economics of developing medications and the lack of production facilities, he said.

“I have certainly noticed in the ADHD community in the US and UK there are some quite severe shortages which haven’t come through to here, and I don’t think they will, but certainly worldwide there is an issue at the moment.”

Pharmac said it would continue to update its supply issues webpage as more information became available.




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