A shortage of Adderall began last year, sending millions of people with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy on perpetual wild goose chases to find drugstores with the pills they need to stay alert and focused.
So it's not surprising that Adderall counterfeiters have seized a big marketing opportunity. What is surprising is their clumsiness.
The Food and Drug Administration says fake Adderall pills are easy to spot. They're white instead of peachy-pink. They're smooth, with none of the markings of the real 30-milligram tablets — the highest dose. They may come in blister packs, while real Adderall is sold only in 100-count bottles.
And the packaging of the counterfeit pills is riddled with typos and misspellings — "aspartrte" instead of "aspartate," and "singel" instead of "single."
If there's still any doubt, the fake packaging has "NDS" instead of "NDC," an abbreviation for National Drug Code. The correct NDC code, by the way, is 0555-0768-02, which must be on every bottle of 30-mg Adderall.
FDA scientists have found that the counterfeit drug contains none of the four active ingredients of the real thing. Instead, it contains two painkillers — acetaminophen and tramadol — which have no effect on ADHD or narcolepsy.