Irony, thy name is ADHD

Yesterday, I highlighted a NYT piece on “the selling of attention deficit disorder“. In a bizarre piece of irony, WaPo had its own piece, but its focus was on the rising scourge of ADHD in adults.

The NYT highlighted some of the prominent individuals who have ties to pharma companies who make these drugs. One was Dr. David Goodman, who over saw a video course sponsored by Shire on the website Medscape. Later, Dr. Goodman reconsidered:

The psychiatrist who oversaw the course, Dr. David Goodman of Johns Hopkins and the Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Center of Maryland, said that he was paid several thousand dollars to oversee the course by Medscape, not Shire directly, and that such income did not influence his decisions with patients. But as he reviewed the video in September, Dr. Goodman reconsidered its message to untrained doctors about how quickly the disorder can be assessed and said, “That was not an acceptable way to evaluate and conclude that the patient has A.D.H.D.”

The WaPo article, on the other hand, quoted Goodman extensively (mentioning none of these ties):

The treatment for older adults with ADHD is similar to the protocol for children with the disorder — usually a combination of “pills and skills,” according to Goodman.

Medications for ADHD include stimulants such as Adderall XR, Concerta, Focalin XR and Vyvanse, or non-stimulants such as Strattera, according to Goodman.

Shire makes both Adderall and Vyvanase. Then Goodman went on to bemoan that we need to do a much better job getting insurance to pay for these medications:

Older adults can have difficulties getting insurers to cover ADHD prescriptions, and they sometimes need to get a waiver to have medications covered. Many of these drugs have been FDA-approved and tested in patients only up to age 55 or 65, Goodman said. At age 62, Ecarius had to wait several weeks for preauthorization of his medication.

Read the NYT piece, and then the WaPo piece. Then think hard about the fact that the latter may be a perfect example of the issues the former describes.


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