A global shortage of drugs to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is affecting thousands of New Zealanders.
Pharmaceutical company Teva warned Pharmac in September that it was facing supply problems for the drug methylphenidate due to increased global demand.
Because of the shortage, 4,000 patients were given the Concerta brand drug instead.
Pharmac told RNZ that Teva drug stocks are now starting to return to the country, although it is uncertain when supply issues will be resolved.
“People who were previously taking Methylphenidate ER – Teva will have to start returning to this brand because we don’t have enough Concerta in stock to continue using that brand long term.”
ADHD NZ chairman Darrin Bull said RNZ Concerta was very similar and Pharmac had assured him there would be no issues with changing the drug.
“However, there are always nuances to this, and there may be times when people experience less benefit or experience side effects.”
He said there were no real problems or complaints due to the shortage.
“There are bigger issues for the ADHD community in New Zealand, including access to diagnosis and better medicines.”
He said Pharmac has been proactive in addressing the shortage.
Mr Bull told RNZ he had seen pharmaceutical companies around the world struggling to meet demand.
That could be due to the economics of drug development and the lack of production facilities, he said.
“I have certainly noticed that there is a pretty serious talent shortage in the ADHD community in the US and UK, but I don’t think it’s gotten this far and I don’t think it ever will, but certainly right now. , the problem exists all over the world.”
Pharmac said it will continue to update its webpage on supply issues as more information becomes available.