The sales of prescription stimulants for A.D.H.D. have more than quadrupled since 2002. Is it an epidemic? According to Dr. Keith Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, who has been fighting to legitimize A.D.H.D diagnoses for the past 50 years, the rise is probably due to successful marketing campaigns that feed on parental fears about normal childhood impatience and forgetfulness. In an interview, Conners said this overdiagnosis “is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels,” which is very profitable and trails only to asthma in children, according to Centers for Disease Control (C.D.C.) data.
1. What companies stand to profit from this overdiagnosis? Discuss the ethics of this situation and whether you believe the companies are at fault.
2. Based on the data in the article, what percentage increase do you calculate in the number of children on medication for this disorder?
3. The article mentions that “the Food and Drug Administration has cited every major A.D.H.D. drug — stimulants like Adderall, Concerta, Focalin and Vyvanse, and nonstimulants like Intuniv and Strattera — for false and misleading advertising since 2000, some multiple times.” Research this statement and find at least 3 press releases mentioning these fines and their amounts. Based on this information, do you think that the fines are an effective deterrent?
Schwartz, A. (2013). The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder. The New York Times, Dec. 14 (Retrievable online at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/health/the-selling-of-attention-deficit-disorder.html?pagewanted=all&src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB&_r=0)