Since 2000, the FDA has cited companies making every major ADHD drug -- including Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Focalin, Vyvanse, Intuniv and Strattera -- for funding false and misleading advertising.
Some people taking ADHD drugs become unable to sleep for days, lose their appetites or hallucinate. But in their advertising and marketing, drug companies routinely downplay "possible side effects like insomnia, irritability and psychotic episodes," the national newspaper said.
After receiving major financial support from drug manufacturers, the American Psychiatric Association began loosening its criteria to identify ADHD, resulting in increased sales for pharmaceuticals.
Dr. Keith Conners, a Duke University psychologist, criticizes much of the research promoting the increased use of ADHD drugs.
"This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels," he said.
At conferences, pharmaceutical company speakers cite Dr. Joseph Biederman, a child psychiatrist at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, to be in support of their products. In 2008, a U.S. Senate investigation found that Biederman received major financing from drug companies to conduct dozens of studies claiming to document psychiatric problems.
Those companies paid Biederman $1.6 million in speaking and consulting fees in recent years. Conners called Biederman "unequivocally the most published psychopharmacology maven for ADHD."
Pharmaceutical companies regularly invite physicians to conferences to convince them to prescribe their products. During the first nine months of 2013, for example, Shire spent $1 million setting up conferences designed to "educate" physicians about its products.Research scientists, physicians, psychiatrists, educators and media outlets have a growing responsibility to protect the public -- especially children in school -- from approving drug prescriptions driven by corporate greed.