**Growth Hormone Crisis** Exposes Heartbreaking Struggles of Families Amid Shortage

Gainesville, Florida – Dr. Jennifer Miller, a professor of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Florida’s College of Medicine, has dedicated two decades to researching rare endocrine diseases. Patients from across the country seek her expertise for treatment, yet her focus has shifted due to a critical issue plaguing her practice.

A scarcity of growth hormone, particularly Norditropin, has gripped the medical community since the fall of 2022. Despite promises from Novo Nordisk, the drug manufacturer, to stabilize supplies by 2024, shortages persist. This shortfall has led to a domino effect, causing deficits in alternate brands as patients scramble for available options.

Children with conditions like Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare disorder impacting 500 of Dr. Miller’s patients, suffer greatly from the shortage. Without the necessary growth hormone, they experience constant hunger, blood sugar issues, weight gain, and behavioral challenges. The protracted unavailability of the medication has exacerbated their struggles, posing significant concerns for their well-being.

Insurance companies have compounded the problem by implementing stringent prior authorization requirements for the drug. This bureaucratic hurdle forces healthcare providers and patients to navigate complex processes, exacerbating delays and disruptions in treatment during the ongoing shortage.

Hillary Hall, a Las Vegas resident, experienced firsthand the harrowing impact of the growth hormone scarcity on her 9-year-old son, Winston, who has Prader-Willi syndrome. After enduring weeks without access to the essential medication, Winston’s behavioral issues escalated, leading to disruptions at school and distress for the entire family.

Despite some recent improvements in the consistency of supply, challenges persist in addressing the ongoing growth hormone shortage. Major pharmacy benefit managers, such as CVS Caremark and Express Scripts, defend the need for prior authorization, citing cost-saving measures and FDA regulations regarding brand interchangeability as reasons for their continued requirements.

While efforts to mitigate the shortage are ongoing, families like the Halls continue to navigate hurdles in accessing vital medications for their loved ones. As stakeholders collaborate to resolve the crisis, the resilience and perseverance of patients and healthcare providers remain crucial in managing the complexities of the current healthcare landscape.