Ritalin shortage across Canada


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.

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  1. Bob posted on 02/26/2014 02:50 PM
    Universities just finished midterms...

    While I joke, it really is not that funny. I have found pill bottles and empty packets sitting in the washrooms at my university. Students use these drugs as a study tool. Along with cheating, which is rampant (I have heard other students discuss methods of cheating amongst each other) students who put a real effort in are at a disadvantage. Enough of my rant for now
  2. The truth posted on 02/26/2014 03:14 PM
    The irony here is that both the generic and the branded product come form the same production site, a former Novartis Canada manufacturing site. Novartis knew full well the shortage that was headed our way. Poor Supply Chain Management and ridiculous lean inventory targets.
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