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People in Wales struggling to cope due to ADHD medication shortage

19 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Chris HainesICNN Senedd Reporter

People in Wales are struggling to cope due to a major national shortage of ADHD medication, the Senedd has heard.

Sarah Murphy called for an update from the Welsh Government on what it is doing to address the ongoing lack of ADHD drugs.

The Labour MS for Bridgend told the Senedd: “This is causing such distress to many people across Wales.”

About 122,000 people in Wales – or 4.7% of the population – have the condition, according to ADHD UK.

Ms Murphy said: “The ADHD Foundation says untreated ADHD makes focusing, remembering details and controlling impulses harder.

“And ADHD UK states that one in ten men or boys and one in four women or girls with ADHD will at some point try to take their own life.

“Yet – I’m being told at the moment that there is not very much support for them as they are being put on smaller doses to get them through while we have this shortage.”


Ms Murphy explained that drug company Takeda has a near-monopoly on one of the medicines, Elvanse, because there are no generic alternatives on the market.

She pointed out that Takeda UK’s patent ran out in February 2023 as she asked whether the Welsh Government could explore producing the drug here, so people never have to go short on their ADHD medicine.

Eluned Morgan said the supply of medicines is a responsibility for the UK Government “and we won’t be stepping into that space”.

The health minister explained that the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has added all ADHD medications to the list of medicines which cannot be exported.

“That means that they will be prioritising available supplies for the UK,” she said during health questions in the Senedd on Wednesday October 18.

The DHSC issued a national patient safety alert in late-September, warning of a shortage of three ADHD medications which could last until December.

The department said the supply disruption is caused by a combination of manufacturing issues and increased global demand.

Altaf Hussain, the Conservative MS for South Wales West, stressed that one of the drugs, Guanfacine, should not be stopped suddenly.

The former orthopaedic surgeon raised concerns about GPs and ADHD services being told not to start new patients on medication.

Ms Morgan said it is important that clinicians can take decisions but they have been given guidance on what they should be prescribing

In a written statement, the health minister said anyone who is having difficulty obtaining treatment should contact their doctor or pharmacist.

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6 months ago

I am one of the 122,000 people affected, I am 49 and have since August not had my prescription fulfilled. I managed recently to get the doctor to prescribe 30mg tablets instead of the 60mg as the 60mg is not available. I got a week’s worth, with no date from the pharmacy as to when the rest will be fulfilled. I am having to ration my medication to days where I absolutely need to be focused. The clowns in the Sennedd have no idea how this impacts people and how much anxiety and unnecessary stress to be held to ransom… Read more »

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago
Reply to  Evans

Whilst this definitely is an issue, it is also an issue in England. You may have noticed drug shortages occurring ever since Brexit. This is because Brexit red tape makes it harder for other European nations to trade with us and so we are at the back of the queue for everything, not just medicines. We get what the other nations don’t need, so are always first to feel the shortages (Such as tomatoes currently). And within Britain, SE England gets first pick of what the nation gets. So yes, the Senedd need to get to grips with the chaos… Read more »

6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Much as I would normally be first to jump on the anti-Brexit case, this shortage was not caused by Brexit. Brexit doesn’t help, certainly, but it didn’t cause this problem. And nor is it a problem caused by Labour or even the Senedd as a whole. The problem lies squarely with the sole manufacturer of lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, aka Elvanse: Takeda. They failed to alert health authorities such as the MHRA, the FDA, and similar European bodies, of potential shortages, something that they have a legal obligation to do. They have not long settled a $500 million lawsuit with the FDA… Read more »

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago
Reply to  blc

Whilst I still maintain new red tape regarding imports and exports caused by the B word still hamstrings trade on this benighted island, I concede that you know WAY more about this than me. This sounds like a nightmare for you. I hope it can be resolved soon. There were recently shambolic shortages of HRT in the UK (possibly globally. I never checked) which was a nightmare for menopausal women). Pharmaceuticals seem to experiencing supply problems regularly now. It would be nice to have effective governments and regulating authorities to take proper ownership around this, because the pharma companies, like… Read more »

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