By Dr. Umesh Jain
Deborah Kotz had an important article in the Boston Globe today talking about counterfeit Adderall. As you know the world of internet drug shopping has proliferated and there are all kinds of medications available legally and illegally. Because of the recent shortage of Adderall by the manufacturer, it is not surprising that counterfeit supplies have started popping up. The US Food and Drug Administration has sent out an advisory and has made physicians aware of this problem.
The counterfeit Adderall, normally a dextro-amphetamine-based product, is actually made from acetaminophen and a noncontrolled pain medication called tramadol. The FDA suggests that if you suspect you may have gotten counterfeit pills look for the following:
a) misspellings on the package
b) blister pack
c) smooth white and unstamped round tablet
You are asked to contact the FDAs MedWatch which is online if you suspect you are getting something false, though, realistically, it would be a bit of an indictment on yourself for trying to purchase a controlled substance on-line. You could do it anonymously, I guess from a library.
Generic manufacturers also tend to proliferate at times when supplies are low or when patents expire. They are the angelic vultures out there. Angelic because they are perceived as doing the public good by bringing cheaper drugs to market but vultures because they do the bear minimum research and development and take all the profits. See our Generic series in Rick’s Rants for an insight into this trade. Some of the generic manufacturers are a bit suspect and not open to the kind of regulatory approval we have here in the West. India is now one of the largest if not the largest supplier of all the generic drugs in the world. One has to be careful.
That is not to say the suppliers of trade name medications are without fault; after all they tend to gouge the public money for what the call “research and development” but hide the fact of how much of that is actually advertising and product promotion. And let’s be clear, the price is based on supply and demand more than anything.
At the end of the day, be careful and always speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions.