Thursday, September 08, 2005

Political Pressure on Psychiatrists and Big Pharma



Release date: 13th June 2005


In calling for the review, Mr Hendry comments: "The huge explosion in the use of drugs to tackle hyperactivity shows that it is increasingly being used as the first line of attack and not the last resort. Before drugs are used, all other possible solutions should be examined first, such as diet, allergies, reactions to colourings and additives. It cannot be right, when a child has a biological condition, to pump their small bodies full of chemicals to control their behaviour."

In his letter to the Minister, Mr Hendry is calling for the most detailed study ever of children with ADHD to be put in place to gain a better understanding of the causes behind it, together with new guidance to GPs that all other treatments should be explored before prescribing drugs. Mr Hendry adds: "As MPs, we have all witnessed a huge growth in ADHD cases in our constituencies. Prescribing more and more drugs cannot be the solution to a problem that was almost unknown a few years ago."

The text of Mr Hendry's letter to the Health Minister follows:

8th June 2005

Dear Jane

You recently answered a Parliamentary Question which I had tabled on the use of Ritalin. The answer shows that the prescribing of Methylphenidate Hydrochloride has doubled in the last five years and last year a shocking 359,000 prescriptions were made.

I am profoundly concerned by these figures which show that drugs Methylphenidate Hydrochloride is increasingly being used as the first line of defence in treating hyperactivity in children, rather than as a last resort.

I am writing to ask that you should set up a full review of the way that hyperactivity in children is treated. First of all, to carry out the most detailed study ever undertaken of hyperactivity and its potential causes and treatments; and to issue new advice to GPs that all other forms of treatment should be examined before drugs are prescribed.

There is no doubt that there is a link between hyperactivity (at least in some children) and food colourings and additives. Surely, it makes sense to explore all the options in terms of dietary change, potential allergies etc before allowing drugs to be prescribed.
I would be grateful for a meeting to discuss how such a review can be taken forward.

Yours sincerely,

Charles Hendry

To: Jane Kennedy MP
Minister for Health
Department of Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall
London SW1


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