(Bloomberg) -- For millions of American patients and parents struggling to fill prescriptions for ADHD medications that are in short supply, help is on the way.
US regulators approved a generic form of Takeda Pharmaceuticals Co.’s Vyvanse, which some patients may be able to take in place of generic Adderall, the drug of choice for many with ADHD. That drug, made by a number of manufacturers, has been in shortage for a year, forcing patients and their families to scour pharmacies for supplies or go without.
The approval will also likely bring financial relief to the more-than one million Americans who take branded Vyvanse to treat ADHD or binge-eating disorder. The cost of the drug has been steadily climbing since it was introduced in 2007, and today the list price of a 30-day supply is $369.
Generic Vyvanse can be manufactured and sold by 14 companies, according to a Food and Drug Administration database updated Friday.
Generic Adderall has been in short supply in US pharmacies since last August after a dearth of workers at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, the main manufacturer, limited production. That led many patients to seek Vyvanse instead, although problems at a contracted manufacturing facility also curtailed that drug’s availability since June, according to Takeda.
Until now, Vyvanse has only been available as an expensive branded drug, putting it out of the reach of some patients.
“It principally comes down to a cost issue,” said David Goodman, a psychiatrist who treats people with ADHD and an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. He’s been switching some patients who can’t find Adderall to Vyvanse.
There will also likely be fewer hoops for doctors to jump through to prescribe generic Vyvanse, Goodman said. Currently, some insurers require that patients receive special permission for coverage of Vyvanse.
Takeda gained the drug in 2019 in its purchase of specialty drug-maker Shire Plc. Since its 2007 launch, the manufacturer has more than tripled the drug’s price, according to data from Elsevier.
Takeda sets prices “to ensure that they reflect the value and innovation” of the treatments, the company said in a statement. It declined to comment on how prices might change upon the introduction of a generic.
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