The law firm of Waters & Kraus has announced the filing in Texas of a class action lawsuit entitled Hernandez, Plaintiff, Individually and on Behalf of all Others Similarly Situated v. Ciba Geigy Corporation, U.S.A., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Children and Adults With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), and the American Psychiatric Association.
The suit states allegations based on fraud and conspiracy. From approximately 1955 through 1995, the exclusive or primary manufacturer and supplier of Ritalin in this country was defendant Ciba/Novartis planned, conspired, and colluded to create, develop and promote the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in a highly successful effort to increase the market for its product Ritalin. In addition to its actions and involvement with the creation of the ADD and ADHD diagnosis, Ciba/Novartis took steps to promote and dramatically increase the sales of Ritalin by way of the following:
Actively promoting and supporting the concept that a significant percentage of children suffer from a "disease" which required narcotic treatment/therapy.
Actively promoting Ritalin as the "drug of choice" to treat children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD.
Actively supporting groups such as Defendant CHADD, both financially and with other means, so that such organizations would promote and support (as a supposed neutral party) the ever-increasing implementation of ADD/ADHD diagnoses as well as directly increasing Ritalin sales.
Distributing misleading sales and promotional literature to parents, schools and other interested persons in a successful effort to further increase the number of diagnoses and the number of persons prescribed Ritalin.
The suit further alleges that defendant CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Hyperactivity Disorder) has been a recipient of financial donations and contributions from Defendants Ciba/Novartis for many years. CHADD received $748,000 from Ciba/Novartis in the period 1991 to 1994 alone. During the periods when CHADD received funding from Ciba/Novartis, CHADD deliberately made efforts to increase the sales of Ritalin, and to increase the supply of methylphenidate (the generic name for Ritalin) available in the United States, and to reduce or eliminate laws and restrictions concerning the use of Ritalin and methylphenidate in the U.S.A., all to the financial benefit of Ciba/Novartis. Ciba/Novartis made such financial contributions with the purpose of advertising and promoting sales of Ritalin - an internationally controlled substance.
Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1019 U.N.T.S. 175 (1971). CHADD's activities nationwide have led to significant increase on the amount of Ritalin taken by school children and have directly resulted in enormous profits to Ciba/Novartis.
It is not generally known or understood by the public that use of Ritalin will preclude a child from ever joining the United States military because Ritalin is classified as a Class II controlled substance, along with morphine and other amphetamines. Additionally,
Parents, the school districts and other interested parties are generally unaware that use of Ritalin can cause a significant number of health problems and risks, including but not limited to the following:
- Rapid heart beat (palpitations, tachycardia)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Unusual heart rhythm (arrythmia)
- Heart attack (cardiac arrest)
Central Nervous System
- Altered mental status (psychosis)
- Depression or excitement
- Convulsions / seizures
- (excessive brain stimulation)
- Confusion or "dopey" feeling
- Lack of sleep (insomnia)
- Agitation, irritation,
- Anxiety, nervousness
- Unhappiness (Dysphoria)
- Impaired mental abilities
- (cognitive impairment on tests)
- Jerky movements, Tics, Tourette's syndrome
- Nervous habits
- (such as picking at skin or pulling hair)
- Compulsive behavior
- Decreased social interest
- Zombie-like behavior
- Eating disorders (anorexia)
- Nausea / Vomiting
- Stomach ache / cramps
- Dry mouth
- Growth problems (pituitary dysfunction)
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Hair loss
- Inflammation of the skin (dermatitis)
- Blood disorders (anorexia, leukoplacia)
- Involuntary discharge of urine (enuresis)
- Joint pain
- Unusual sweating
Withdrawal and Rebound
- Worsening of ADHD-like symptoms
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Evening crash
- Over-activity and irritability