Shortage of a medicine for attention deficit disorder

After infant formula and some pain and fever medications for children, it is the turn of an AD/HD medication that is out of stock. There are alternatives on the market, but supplies are under pressure.

Bifentine, a drug used by some people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/H), is no longer available to pharmacists in Quebec. They hope to regain access to the product in mid-August.

According to the website mandatory drug shortage and discontinuation notification in Canada, all doses of Biphentin have been in “true shortage” since at least July 7.

Users of this drug can turn to some alternatives, including Concerta, a drug that contains the same active ingredient, methylphenidate.

However, the initial deficit creates a “cascade effect” that affects substitute products, explains Marilie Beaulieu-Gravel, public affairs adviser for the Association québécoise des pharmacists proprietors. Concerta availability is also starting to shrink.

Supply chains involved

“Every time, pharmacists pull stunts, miracles, to handle this type of situation. We are used to stock shortages, unfortunately,” said Bertrand Bolduc, president of the Quebec Order of Pharmacists, who wants to be reassuring about the bifentine shortage.

“We are in 2022, supply chains are problematic in all areas and that also affects medicines,” he explains. To avoid trouble, he advises all drug users not to wait until the last minute to replenish their stock at home.

In people with ADHD, the shortage doesn’t seem to be causing any serious problems right now. Danielle Rousseau, president of the Regroupement des Associations PANDA, which offers help to these people throughout Quebec, has not heard of any difficulties related to the lack of Biphentin.

“Often in the summer the demand for these drugs is quieter anyway, since the school requirements aren’t there. Even if, sometimes, it can hang in the day camp, ”notes Mme Rousseau.

“Since there is an alternative option with the Concerta, I think it will be mainly a matter of adaptation. But it won’t be dramatic,” he adds.

As for children’s Tylenol and Tempra oral suspensions, which have been difficult to access for several weeks, wholesalers are still experiencing supply issues these days, Mr. Bolduc notes.

“It’s probably because we’ve had a lot of COVID cases lately,” he explains. Since acetaminophen is usually in demand in the winter, and not in the spring and summer, supply chains would have been surprised, the pharmacist believes. In his opinion, the situation should return to normal shortly for these products.

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