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Humanist, humorist

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

ADHD - Tapping into the Lucrative Market

General all-round ass-kickers and thoroughly decent humans, CCHR International, have been running a series of posts lately via their webpage that concern the recent push by the pharmaceutical industry and the field of white-coated buffoonery to target more kids with ADHD drugs.

Medikidz is a children’s medical education organisation that works closely with healthcare professionals, families, children and patients to produce unique learning materials in comic book format. The blurb on their website reads...

Over 3,500,000 Medikidz comic books have been distributed globally, involving over 400 leading specialist physician peer reviewers and 100 endorsing partners worldwide. The Medikidz mission is to create a global community of young people that is informed, empowered and health-aware.

Hey, I'm all for kids being educated about the illnesses they may or may not have. Medkidz comics range from such ailments as allergies, infections & immune system right through to cancer. Buried amongst the pile of educational material is a comic that explains ADHD. Priced at £6.99 it tells us the fictional tale of Josh. Here's the summary, along with the front cover of the comic.

Josh is spending the day hanging out with the Medikidz at Medi HQ. He’s having a great time until disaster strikes…

An accident which leaves Mediland without one of its moons makes Josh feel he has outstayed his welcome. And this isn’t the first time he’s felt like this. He feels like everywhere he goes he causes trouble and ends up being shouted at. The Medikidz decide it’s time for an adventure, and whisk Josh off to Mediland’s brain where the hard-working neurons are facing a crisis; where have all the neurotransmitter messages gone? How will they know when to concentrate, stay alert or stop fidgeting? Will Mediland have a riot on its hands (or more accurately, brain)? Through their adventure, the Medikidz show Josh that sometimes it can feel frustrating and confusing if you have ADHD, but that in fact, there is support and help all around you.

The comic comes at a time where yet more trickery by the marketing geniuses at pharmaceutical companies have rolled out treatment designed specifically for children.

Adzenys, for example, is a drug similar to Adderall in that it is marketed towards children ages 6 and up with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, especially those who are averse to swallowing pills.

Adzenys is an extended release tablet that dissolves in the mouth and comes in an orange flavour that, according to some, is just like having a peice of candy dissolve on the tongue. Its makers, NEOS Therapeutics, Inc, claim that many children have difficulty swallowing the tablets that treat ADHD, hence the reason to make it available in a candy-like form, I guess.

Hansel & Gretel anyone?

The warnings that accompany Adzenys are extensive, so extensive in fact that I'm surprised any parent would wish for their child to take it...

Heart-related problems, new psychotic symptoms (such as hearing voices, believing things that are not true, are suspicious) or new manic symptoms, decreased appetite and problems sleeping.

The above side effects aren't some conspiratorial rant, they are actually from the FDA website who also warn about disposing of Adzenys. "mix ADZENYS XR-ODT with an undesirable, nontoxic substance to make it less appealing to children and pets. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag and discard ADZENYS XR-ODT in the household trash."

Scary stuff, even more so when we revert back to the comic about ADHD. CCHR International write, "...the ADHD comic book, for example, is sponsored by Shire Pharmaceuticals, which also, coincidentally, happens to market several ADHD drugs, including Adderall." 

Now, it appears, that potentially millions of kids can now explain to their friends about their diagnosed brain disorder - "Look, it's here in this comic." It will have a knock on effect as most fads do - except ADHD isn't a fad and it looks as though it's here to stay... and treat.

Adzenys XR-ODT  is a prescription medicine used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in patients 6 years and above.

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.
~ Walt Streightiff

Bob Fiddaman.

Further reading

A New Low for Psycho-Pharma: Candy-flavored ADHD Drugs & “ADHD Superheroes”

Psychiatric Medication or Play Therapy?

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