Pharmacists across Canada are struggling to find alternatives for people taking Ritalin, or its generics, for attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity.
Novartis, the manufacturer of Ritalin, says there is a shortage of the 10 mg pills because stocks of the generic versions are low, pushing up demand for the brand-name version.
“It is due to a domino effect,” Andrea Gilpin, spokesperson for Novartis said.
The Quebec Order of Pharmacists says drug stores will give patients alternative doses but it worries about side effects because each dose is tailored for each patient.
“The dose is very specific, and when we have a child on this medication we don’t want to have to change it. We never want to be in drug shortages for any medication, but for this one, it’s even more complicated,” Diane Lamarre, President of the Order said.
Lamarre says Health Canada should fast track approval of imported drugs when there is a shortage.
She also says the feds should demand answers from pharmaceutical companies regarding shortages, because they aren't giving explanations and they must be responsible for ensuring adequate stock.
“We are not selling apples, we are selling medication,” she said.
Novartis says 10 mg Ritalin should be out of stock until April.
The generic versions are expected to be out of stock until mid June.