Tuesday, October 09, 2012

It's Official: Doctors Prescribe Adderall to Help Kids Get Higher Grades at School

Dr. Michael Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta, routinely prescribes Adderall to kids who get poor grades in school. To do that, he first must commit fraud: submit a false diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to Medicaid and/or private insurer.

The doctor admitted his fraudulent activity in a story published in today's New York Times (here). “I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

He does this believing in his heart of hearts that ADHD is “made up.” His excuse? To prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.
Dr. Anderson’s instinct, he said, is that of a “social justice thinker” who is “evening the scales a little bit.” He said that the children he sees with academic problems are essentially “mismatched with their environment” — square pegs chafing the round holes of public education. Because their families can rarely afford behavior-based therapies like tutoring and family counseling, he said, medication becomes the most reliable and pragmatic way to redirect the student toward success.
This is wrong on so many levels. For one thing, who made Dr. Anderson and other physicians who feel the same way judge and jury regarding what school is "adequate" or "inadequate"?

That, of course is not the main problem, which is prescribing a dangerous, additive drug to children who have no real medical need. This is clearly a case where a drug's benefit does not justify the risks that the patients are subject to. "Reported side effects of the drugs have included growth suppression, increased blood pressure and, in rare cases, psychotic episodes," says the NY Times.

Not mentioned by the Times is the dangers of addiction. ABC News recently ran a story documenting this problem: Dangers of Adderall Addiction Among Moms (see here or view the embedded video below).

If moms can become addicted to Adderall, their children can also become addicted. When they can no longer get Adderall, they will try other drugs easily available from physicians or on the street (see, for example,

This is so egregious that I must ask if Dr. Anderson has received payments from Shire Pharmaceuticals, which sells Adderall XR (the extended release version of Adderall, which Shire sold to Teva Pharmaceuticals). Unfortunately, Shire does not publicly disclose such payments. According to its compliance Web site (here), Shire only reports spending on HCPs (healthcare providers) to a "limited number of states as required by the individual state laws."

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1 comment:

  1. I feel hate to that Doctor who are responsible for that.
    And I will be happy if Doctor community suspend his membership forever.


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