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The medical community has undertaken a vigorous debate about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). At one extreme are doctors, psychologists, and others who question whether clinicians are “medicalizing” childhood. At the other pole are doctors who eagerly prescribe medications for youngsters at the slightest hint of trouble. Nonetheless, while overdiagnosis and overprescribing are legitimate concerns, the consensus among mental health professionals is that ADHD exists and that stimulant therapies like Ritalin are effective.

A legal debate has now been added to the medical one. Trial lawyers representing a class of parents whose children were diagnosed with ADHD have filed lawsuits in several states against the maker of Ritalin and the American Psychiatric Association. They allege that the two conspired to “create” a disease to hype the benefits of the drug. This conference will include an overview of the ADHD controversy and an examination of the implications of the ADHD litigation, followed by a question and answer period.


9:00 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast


The Clinical Aspects of ADHD


Marilyn Benoit, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

William Carey, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Jerome Wiener, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences


Sally Satel, AEI


The Legal Controversy over ADHD


John Coale, Coale Cooley Lietz McInerny

Peter Huber, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research

David Siegel, Crowell & Moring LLP


Sally Satel, AEI



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