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Shire, the Irish domiciled pharmaceutical company, has settled a legal dispute with Teva, the world’s largest generic drugs group, triggered by tight government controls on the supply of the stimulant amphetamine used to make prescription medicines.
Teva, based in Israel, agreed to drop a lawsuit launched in October that had claimed Shire was failing to meet an agreement to provide it with sufficient amphetamines to produce the drug Adderall XR for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
In a statement, Shire said its own supplies of amphetamine had been limited by the US authorities, but that it had been able recently to negotiate additional deliveries allowing it to meet its commitments for orders from Teva.
It blamed the spat on the US Drug Enforcement Agency, which has firmly controlled supplies of amphetamines for nearly four decades in an effort to prevent their misuse, and has warned of growing abuse including by students seeking help with concentration.
The agency issues quotas, delivers and closely monitors the use of amphetamines to a small number of pharmaceutical companies including Shire, which then makes Adderall XR and other related drugs by mixing the ingredients and combining them in a special formulation designed to ensure the slow release of the drug into the body.
A surge in prescriptions for ADHD in both children and adults in recent years has boosted use of the medicines, further stimulated by price cuts since the entry of two lower cost generic drug suppliers this year.
Shire says the trend is explained by the growing number of people being diagnosed with ADHD, although the company also revealed in September it had received a subpoena from government investigators probing marketing practices for Adderall XR and other drugs.
Angus Russell, chief executive, said at the time: ”We are a very regulated industry and it is becoming normal practice that from time to time companies of our size or bigger have inquiries from the government.”