Adderall’s limited availability felt at University

Adderall, the prescription drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has been in short supply throughout the country.

As of Jan. 23, Adderall has been on the Food and Drug Administration’s official drug shortage list.

“I am aware through my patients that there has been a national stimulant medication shortage.” said David Lawrance, medical director at the McKinley Health Center. “We’ve been dealing with it since the middle of last fall. Some of my patients have had to call a half-dozen or so pharmacies to find one that could fill their prescription.”

Brittany Schaub, sophomore in LAS, was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, when she was five years old. Since then, she has been taking different types of medications to treat the condition. Since the shortage, Schaub has been struggling to find a pharmacy, specifically on campus, that will refill her prescription.

“I was kind of hoping (the shortage) wasn’t actually a thing that I would ever be faced with,” she said. “Living without (medication) isn’t something I’ve ever had to deal with for more than a few days at a time, and even then, it’s incredibly frustrating.”

The McKinley Health Center does not supply patients with Adderall because the drug is a controlled substance, which can also cause an inconvenience to students.

“Getting my prescription filled on campus has been a huge hassle because McKinley does not carry them, and there is no Walgreens pharmacy on campus,” Schaub said. “Because of all of that, I have to get my prescription mailed from home. I found it surprising McKinley doesn’t carry them because of UIUC’s amazing disability program (Disability Resources and Education Services), which provides really great resources for students with both physical and learning disabilities.”

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the number of drug shortages has nearly tripled over the last six years — jumping from 61 drug products in 2005 to 178 in 2010.

Agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration and the FDA are trying to get to the root of the problem, and in October, President Barack Obama issued an executive order to prevent and reduce drug shortages.

“The shortage of prescription drugs drives up costs, leaves consumers vulnerable to price gouging and threatens our health and safety,” Obama said in the Oct. 31 press release. “This is a problem we can’t wait to fix. That’s why today, I am directing my administration to take steps to protect consumers from drug shortages, and I’m committed to working with Congress and industry to keep tackling this problem going forward.”