Merrill Goozner asks this question on his blog. An excerpt: â€śWith nearly a half million kids on six different mind-bending drugs, youâ€™d think the psychiatric profession already had enough options for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. But thatâ€™s not the way our drug approval system works. Itâ€™s a free market out there, open to all comers. So this Thursday the Food and Drug Administrationâ€™s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee will consider another drug for ADHD â€“ Cephalonâ€™s Sparlon, which is generically known as modafinil.
Late night truckers and shift workers are already familiar with this drug. In their sleep-disordered world, it is known as Provigil. Itâ€™s not an amphetamine. Itâ€™s mechanism of action, to use the mystifying argot of the drug scientists, is â€śpoorly understood.â€? In laymanâ€™s language, that means they have no idea how or why it works.â€?
Read the rest of Gooznerâ€™s article, which discusses suicide risks, bribes, patent expiration and generic drug competition.
Goozner concludes: â€śIâ€™m sure weâ€™ll hear from plenty of testimony on Thursday from parents and physicians who swear by this new drug. But the jaded business reporter in me wonders if the kids are just pawns in the companyâ€™s patent game.â€?