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TOPIC: ADHD Pill Faces Hurdle in Europe; Stigma Persists

ADHD Pill Faces Hurdle in Europe; Stigma Persists 06 Oct 2013 20:23 #282

ADHD Pill Faces High Hurdle in Europe as Stigma Persists
Posted October 1, 2013 by Trista Kelley

The European debut of a pill to treat children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder faces a major hurdle: convincing people the condition exists.

Shire Plc (SHP), the world’s biggest seller of ADHD drugs, has been rolling out the pill, Vyvanse, in eight countries while discussing the prevalence of the illness with doctors at psychiatry conferences around Europe. More than 90 percent of the Dublin-based company’s sales of ADHD drugs come from the U.S., where the illness is diagnosed about 25 times more frequently than in the U.K.

While attitudes vary by country, many European parents, teachers and doctors are resistant to using medication to treat what they see as childhood behavior problems. Those views have stymied treatment options and fueled stigmas, doctors say. ADHD, characterized by inattention, over-activity and impulsiveness, afflicts up to 7 percent of children in the U.S. and is linked to drug abuse and an increased likelihood of criminal convictions in adulthood.

“There’s been a great deal of resistance to even believing there is a disease,” said Mary Baker, president of the European Brain Council, a Brussels-based non-profit representing doctors, patients and companies including Shire that work on neurology and psychiatry issues. “Parents are loath to get their child labeled. Children are easy or difficult, that’s the diagnosis in society.”


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