“Profits for the A.D.H.D. drug industry have soared,” writes Alan Schwarz in “The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder,” New York Times, December 15, 2013. “Sales of stimulant medication in 2012 were nearly $9 billion, more than five times the $1.7 billion a decade before, according to the data company IMS Health.” The leading brand in this category, Adderall, was introduced in 1994 by Richwood Pharmaceutical Company, which was sold in 1997 to a British company, Shire. Roger Griggs, the Richwood executive who launched Adderall, now “strongly opposes marketing stimulants to the general public because of their dangers.”
From the Times article:
Modern marketing of stimulants began with the name Adderall itself. Mr. Griggs bought a small pharmaceutical company that produced a weight-loss pill named Obetrol. Suspecting that it might treat a relatively unappreciated condition then called attention deficit disorder, and found in about 3 to 5 percent of children, he took “A.D.D.” and fiddled with snappy suffixes. He cast a word with the widest net.
A.D.D. for All.
“It was meant to be kind of an inclusive thing,” Mr. Griggs recalled.
It succeeded on that count. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited in the Times article show that “the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990.”