Ritalin Maker and American Psychiatric Association Sued for Conspiracy

Lawsuits, filed in federal courts in New Jersey and California allege that Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, the manufacturer of Ritalin, and the American Psychiatric Association, conspired to create a market for Ritalin and expand its use. Stories appearing in the September 14, 2000 issue of the “New York Times” and the Sept 15 “On Health with Web MD”, both report on these class action suits.

Over the past decade prescriptions for Ritalin have skyrocketed as have the diagnosis of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). This has prompted controversy related to the correctness of the increase in diagnosis, the over prescribing of the medication, or the unstudied effects on children of long term use of this psychotropic drug.

One of the lawyers involved in the Ritalin lawsuits, John Coale of Washington DC, said the litigation was brought because Novartis and the psychiatric group expanded the market for the drug by promoting the idea that many children had attention deficit order and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He stated, “They were giving this stuff away like candy,”