9/17/2000 – Two new lawsuits seek to halt the use of Ritalin

Thursday, 14 September 2000

2 new lawsuits seek to halt the use of Ritalin

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Lawyers involved in class-action lawsuits against the tobacco
industry, gun makers and health maintenance organizations yesterday filed
two lawsuits against another target, the widely used drug Ritalin.

The lawsuits, filed in federal courts in California and New Jersey,
charge that Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., the drug’s manufacturer, and the
American Psychiatric Association, a professional group, conspired to create
a market for Ritalin and expand its use.

For more than a decade, Ritalin has been increasingly prescribed for
children who have been given a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder or
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. That trend has prompted debate
over the medicine, its dosage and the diagnoses.

Representatives of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, a unit of Novartis AG,
and the American Psychiatric Association said the accusations sound similar
to those in a class-action suit brought this year in Texas.

Then, Novartis said that Ritalin had been used safely and effectively
in thousands of children for more than 40 years and that it was the
most-studied drug used for attention deficit hyperactive disorder.

The new lawsuits seek to halt what they call unlawful practices and
ask that profits from the sales be returned to consumers.

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