Two landmark US lawsuits have been filed alleging that attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were invented largely to promote the sale of the drug Ritalin.
These new class action lawsuits, filed in California and New Jersey, come on the heels of a similar one filed in Texas recently.
All three allege that the multinational drug company Ciba/Novartis colluded with the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to create, develop and promote the widespread diagnoses of ADD and ADHD to boost sales of the drug Ritalin.
The potential involvement of such an august body as the APA is a new twist in the Ritalin tale. However, the prosecutors are believed to have evidence that not only did the APA collude with the drug companies, they accepted financial contributions from Ciba as well as from other members of the pharmaceutical industry while doing so.
The impetus for the trials has come from the country wide experiences of parents who have been forced to administer Ritalin to their children under a court order, or lose them on the grounds of neglect. Many of these families are now suing psychiatrists for creating a market for the drug (BMJ, 2000; 321: 723).