More Notes on the Adderall Not Adderalling
PLUS: coffee is the drug of capitalism, Pennsylvania wants a state weed store, and I do TikTok now
I have to confess something to you, dear slugs: I’ve been posting on TikTok. I’m sorry! I wanted to tell you sooner but, I was trying to figure out if I even liked it?? (I think I do.)
I know, everyone has posted on TikTok already. I am the latest adopter. I adopt the thing so late, it’s already enshittified; I adopt the thing right before it gets banned for national security reasons! But, as per the slug ethos: better late than never.
On Friday I posted this video summarizing the essay I wrote earlier this week, and in 24 hours I had 1000 followers:
Enable 3rd party cookies or use another browser
This is admittedly small potatoes in TikTok terms, but it took me months of work to get 1000 followers on IG, so I am starting to understand TikTok’s terrifying power! Even if daddy government does take our clock app, I’m having a lot of fun making short-form videos, so I’m gonna keep doing it.
Anyway — I have some further notes on the stimulant quality speculation I wrote about a couple weeks ago. Shout out to the slugscriber who shared my work with Rowan Zeoli, who also has questions about what’s going on with the supply and wrote a very informative piece about it in Tripsitter.
Rowan and co-author J Gordon Curtis gathered 19 responses from people who say their stimulants aren’t stimulating anymore, and found that most of them had problems with Vyvanse that couldn’t immediately be explained by tolerance. One thing I didn’t know and found very interesting:
“The timing of these reports comes as Takeda Pharmaceuticals is nearing the end of its sole right to manufacture and provide Vyvanse. Their patent on the drug expired on February 24th, 2023, but they maintain control of all non-pediatric prescriptions until August 2023.”
What does that mean in context with everything else going on? It’s hard to say anything for sure, but a “patent cliff” is a big deal in the pharmaceutical industry.
When Adderall XR’s patent expired in 2009, Shire lost a bunch of money and tried to manipulate the market by denying other companies their contracted supply of authorized generics. A shortage of Adderall ensued (!!) and Shire ended up paying a $48 million lawsuit settlement to a company called Impax.
This is a connection I didn’t make until literally right now, but Shire owned Vyvanse, and it was bought out by Takeda in 2019. Takeda has also been struggling with debt, and, like Teva, is also betting on a shift toward new, expensive biologics. “Reprioritizing” away from what they call “small-molecule” drugs toward biologics is a huge industry trend that’s been underway for years now.
Here’s another tangle for the stimulant shortage clusterfuck (thanks El for posting this in the discord!): in response to the opioid crisis and as part of a $26 billion lawsuit settlement, the three largest drug distributors in the US are now required to monitor and flag pharmacies for ordering too many controlled substances.
They are apparently using an algorithm that automatically cuts pharmacies off without recourse, and the DEA has left it up to the companies to decide the threshold for suspicion. The companies, in turn, are not sharing that threshold with any of the pharmacies they supply, so the line for “suspicious orders” is invisible, and nobody has any idea if they’re crossing it.
Some states involved in opioid lawsuits have argued that the pharma industry’s irresponsible marketing drove up their Medicaid costs, and they deserve to be repaid for this, which, to me, sounds like the state and industry arguing over who has to pay for the people’s suffering.
Ironically, the lawsuits are making it worse for some of the people they’re trying to help, because distributors are also cutting off access to a scheduled drug prescribed to ease the pain of opioid withdrawal, buprenorphine.
I’ll continue to follow this story, so do reach out to me if you have any thoughts, expertise, or a personal tales you want to share. This is your periodic reminder that I enjoy getting emails!
The rest of this post on what I’ve been putting into my brain lately is for paid subscribers. Tangents include:
I realized what kind of journalist I am!!!
Is “Hot Guys Take Adderall” the new “Don’t Talk To Me Until I’ve Had My Coffee”?
Do we want state weed stores?
Many miscellaneous links of interest