Fight against legal drugs in court

After the tobacco industry, the pharmaceutical industry in the u.S. Is now to be held accountable for the "conspiracy" with psychiatrists being held accountable for prescribing ritalin against attention deficit disorder

The lawyers who, like richard scruggs, have already successfully won spectacular class action lawsuits with record damages against the cigarette industry, are not only also trying their hand at, say, the industry that manufactures asbestos-containing products, or at weapons manufacturers, but have now chosen a new target again: novartis and the association of american psychiatrists.

Novartis (formerly ciba), already under criticism for its genetic engineering, is the manufacturer of the drug ritalin, which since the 1990s has been prescribed by doctors in increasing quantities, primarily to children, for the treatment of the attention deficit disorder adhd. The drug itself has been around for 40 years, but with the fashion for diagnosing attention deficit disorder and treating it with medication, use among children in particular has grown rapidly. Already in 1998 the magazine time published an ie with the title "ritalin era" out. American estimates indicate that between 5 and 10 percent of young people suffer from adhd. Ritalin has become increasingly popular to treat attention deficit disorder or troubled children who have difficulties at school. "What is", time asks, "when a little pill makes everything a little easier – not only for seriously disabled children, but also for those their teachers say are a little too restless or hard to still? Is there something wrong with the children – or is there something wrong with us??"

Methylphenidate, while actually a stimulant similar to cocaine or amphetamines, has a calming effect on children who are supposed to be attention-seeking. More than one-tenth of american children between the ages of 6 and 14 were already taking ritalin – and increasingly other drugs like the antidepressant prozac along with it in a cocktail. Consumption has increased not only in the u.S., but worldwide. Meanwhile, the u.S. Drug enforcement administration (dea) has classified ritalin as a drug because it is increasingly being used by adolescents and adults for its stimulant effects "abused" and can lead to addiction. The u.S. Government has already announced it will take action to reverse the rapidly growing use of ritalin, prozac and other psychoactive drugs by preschoolers.

In their indictment, lawyers accuse novartis and the american psychiatric association of fraud by colluding to give ahdh diagnoses more often so patients would be treated ritalin. A similar class action lawsuit was already filed in texas in may, also against novartis, and the american psychiatric association and chadd (children and adults with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder), an industry-requested parents’ association. Novartis is accused of promoting the drug without pointing out the risks of treatment, while psychiatrists colluded with novartis to extend diagnosis and treatment, while accepting financial benefits from the corporation and other pharmaceutical companies. The association of psychiatrists already called the indictment in texas as "gratuitous" and as a "opportunistic attack on the scientific methods".

Also, the new class action lawsuits accuse the doctors’ association and novartis of promoting the diagnosis of attention deficit disorder in order to brutalize the market for the drug. The lawyers are out to stop the alleged illegal actions of the defendants and demand that the profits from the sale of the drug be returned to the customers. At least with this trial, the effects of drugs taken on a massive scale to regulate behavior are now open to public discussion.