Shortage of ADHD medications in Hawaii drags on, frustrating patients and pharmacies

Hawaii pharmacies are running low on medicine for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 8:44 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 2, 2023 at 8:45 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii pharmacies are running low on medicine for ADHD.

The shortage for Adderall, which is a stimulant that helps manage ADHD symptom, started in October.

Although the FDA’s website shows the active ingredients in Adderall are available, patients, providers and pharmacies are still struggling to get ahold of the medication.

“And here it is the following June, and we’re still not able to always fill a total month’s prescription for our patients,” said Wailua Brandman, a nurse practitioner who specializes in psychiatry.

Brandman said he’s having to call multiple pharamacies to check their Adderall stocks.

“It can be a for a whole half hour, it can be for 10 minutes if I’m lucky,” said Brandman.

“And a lot of times I see my patient during a lunch hour at the pharmacy, so I can’t even get a hold of the pharmacist sometimes because they’re at lunch. And so that’s a big problem too.”

Pharmacist Cory Lehano owns Mauliola Pharmacy on Maui.

“It’s quite a burden that has been placed on us, per se, because we’re, you know, the last step the gatekeepers to this medication,” said Lehano.

He said part of the reason for the Adderall shortage is demand is up, but supply has remained mostly the same. Other drugs are also being impacted by shortages in active ingredients, which are strictly limited by the federal government. Pharmacies are also limited to how much Adderall they can order.

Lehano said he’s having to turn away patients almost every day.

“The demand is much higher, but the supply hasn’t changed, which is really causing the shortage,’ said Lehano. “And so our distributors aren’t able to get what we need.”

Lehano looked up Adderall on their ordering platform showing little availability for lower-priced generics.

“A lot of insurance companies will not cover brand name and so patients will have to end up paying $800 Out of Pocket just for their medication,” said Lehano.

“So it’s unfortunate, and we don’t see any type of relief in sight.”

Tommy McNorton of Mililani was diagnosed with ADHD as a child.

He’s working on different coping mechanisms instead of depending on the medication.

“I try to ground myself, that’s an important thing is, is I feel that grounding myself in, you know, by meditating, or going for a walk, just being outside, definitely,” said McNorton.